Bold, energising and uplifting, Nadia Koo’s paintings are instantly iconic, at once a beautiful exploration of colour and a nuanced reflection on life, family and creativity. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the gallery, where we caught up with her to hear more about her work.
“For me, art is all about colour, I start with a blank canvas, with imagined shapes, flowers, leaves, animals and people. Colour means so much; paintings need to feel balanced, complement each other, and be bold. And a definite pop is always needed!
“On the canvas is where all my influences fuse and spill out in colour, shape, pattern, emotion and energy. It is a beautiful experience. If I don’t paint for a few days and don’t feel that colourful expressive fusion I feel like a part of me is missing. I often dream about painting, planning strokes and patterns in my sleep.
“Inspiration comes in many forms. I obsessively collect green jugs and paint these; I have painted flowers that friends have given me; I saw a beautiful fig tree in Bulgaria – which I’m sure will feature in a future painting. The foliage in my work is inspired by my many visits to the Caribbean as a child, and these memories often blend with my love of UK woodland and beach walks.
“Art was an embarrassing thing for me at school. When I was 13, the art teacher put down a fruit bowl as a still life and a kid behind me made monkey noises because there was a banana. Sometimes I still feel self-conscious if I eat a banana in public. So now when I paint, I’m reclaiming my space by featuring bananas in my work.
“I had a recent exhibition of 68 paintings in one room, and people were coming out lost for words, and filled with joy. My paintings radiate energy. It makes me feel good that I’m connecting with people, to think of people having my paintings in their house. I never intended to sell my artwork, but we were doing our house up and living in the office at the bottom of the garden. I was still working and I was stressed, and I’d painting in the evening to relieve that stress. The small room was filled with canvases, encroaching on everything, and a friend suggested I contact Cambridge Open Studios. I sold 15 paintings that July and was astounded. I have not looked back.
“I find St. Ives a real inspiration. I visited as a child, and I have wonderful memories of camping there. It was freedom of being in the sea and discovering new things. It is a positive place.”
You can see Nadia’s work online and at our Clifton gallery at 30 The Mall. Why not sign up to our mailing list to be the first to find out about private views, first looks at new paintings and exclusive subscriber discounts.