Nadia Alting von Geusau - 2020 Art Competition Winner

In 2020, Nadia applied to the 2020 Art Competition with her artwork "The Pretenders". The competition had over 500 applicants from over 41 different countries, and due to Covid related lockdown and local restrictions, it took nearly 6 months from the applications to its final exhibition at King House Gallery in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

From the 12th to 24th of April 2021, the 2020 Art Exhibition with all 2020 Art Competition finalists was open to the public - and Nadia's work was definitely one of people's favorite. On the 24th of April, Nadia's artwork was selected as the big winner - and now we want to know more!

Nadia, thank you for your time to have this chat with us! How was the experience of applying for the competition and the resulting process like for you?

The whole experience of the competition was really amazing! My friends kept telling me to send my work to competitions, so I found this competition while I was researching for competitions to apply for and I saw that the 2020 theme fit perfectly with ‘The Pretenders’. The build up of the competition from the semi-finals to the finals was really well organised and the team at The Artist Lounge were always so positive, inspiring and helpful throughout. It felt really special to be part of this competition. And then I never ever dreamt that I would win it! So the whole process has been nothing but rewarding.

That's great to hear! It's not a secret that your winning artwork got people talking. What was the inspiration behind your painting "The Pretenders"?

The inspiration behind ‘The Pretenders’, came from a build up of ideas. It actually began in my last year of school when I started painting political satire (my first piece involving David Cameron and Nigel Farage), and from then afterwards I always wanted to continue painting satire but never found the time and inspiration to start another satirical project. Then lockdown came March 2020 and I was put on furlough from my work, so suddenly and unexpectedly I had so much time to paint again which was amazing. From this free time and some brainstorming, the ideas for ‘The Pretender’ started to come together.

With the way Trump and Johnson were dealing with the pandemic I knew they were the perfect politicians to paint and ridicule. I then had this idea to place their heads on the bodies of Henry 8th and Elizabeth 1st. Firstly because their clothes were so excessive and comical, especially that of Elizabeth, and secondly because it referred back to the historical past of leadership in drawing similarities between monarchs then and political leaders now. So I started the painting with these ideas, and as I painted, more and more ideas came to me. The room I was painting in at home had a book shelf, and I decided to paint this into the background, and then from this I had the idea to change the names of books to comical things relating to what had happened throughout this first lockdown under Trump and Johnson.

"The Pretenders" was the most brilliant satirical artwork. But generally speaking, what inspires you and defines your artistic style?

There are so many things that inspire me to paint and create. I think the more I paint the more I get inspired and grow as an artist. I am still constantly experimenting with different styles and don’t yet want to stick to one artistic style, but, most of all I love to paint comical, satirical pieces and I’m going to continue exploring this area. Especially with the reaction from entering this competition, I feel even more inspired to continuing exploring painting satire. For me as a person humor is really important, and I love putting this into my paintings, and I think as I grow even more as an artist, this will become more prominent in my work. Along with humor I also love to make people stop, and question what they are looking at and I hope to do that more and more with my work.

I guess the question is... What comes next?! What are your future artistic plans/ what are you working on right now?

I’m planning to just paint, paint, paint! This competition has given me such a confidence boost to continue pursuing being an artist and it has also shown me that my paintings have somewhat meaning! I’m not a full time artist, but it would be my dream to do this more full time, so for now at least I’m going to do as much as possible, and you never know what might happen! I am currently working on a new satirical piece that’s going well, and I am very excited to finish it and reveal it to everyone. I then hope to spend this summer, after finishing my semester at university, painting my largest painting yet. I haven’t yet decided what it will be, but for sure it will be something satirical.

And is there anything you’ve learnt that has helped you as an artist that you could share and/or advice you would like to give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to believe in yourself more. I’ve often held myself back as an artist, believing I would never get anywhere with it. So I would advise people, if they really love something, then go for it, do it, as you’ll never know what will happen unless you try. The art world is a difficult world, its definitely hard to get out there, but I also think hard work pays off. And at the end of the day it’s not necessarily about getting somewhere with your art, its about doing it because you really love it. Being an artist shouldn’t be stressful, it should be inspiring for yourself and others. Creativity and ideas comes to you at the most random time, so make sure you write your artistic ideas down when you have them, before you forget!

Nadia, we thank you very much for your participation in the competition and for sharing your thoughts with us! We can't wait to see more of your work, and we wish you all the best in your very promising art career.