Interview; Daria Chursinada Date: 29/05/2015
I meet Nina at a shaded table near the kiosk café in vibrant and picturesque Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. We talk to a waiter in Portuguese, though Nina is from Southampton and I`m from Moscow. The waiter immediately guesses we are foreigners and jokes about a secret rendezvous of British and Russian intelligence officers. No, it`s not international cooperation that brought us together – it`s the great affection to Lisbon. I saw this affection in Nina`s pictures. She managed to sense the impossible: the air in Lisbon, its soul, unique moments of its life. Now, listening to her, I`m finally sure - she has also got Lisbon in her blood.
Ingénu/e first came across Nina Fraser as one of the team running the Art House café in Southampton. We liked her work, especially its relatively extreme diversity. She is a mixed media artist and has recently ‘taken flight’ to concentrate on her career as an artist, so we thought it was a good time to catch up with her and here she shares her views on her influences, her philosophical leanings and what inspires her creativity
1. First off Nina, tells us about founding the Art House and about your decision to leave after 6 years there. What gave you the idea to create it originally and why did you leave recently?
The Art House formed from a combination of different visions and synchronous events - I had been away volunteering overseas, and had also experienced some really great cafes. It also seemed that there was a creative community present in Southampton but nowhere central for it to meet. It was extremely hard work for about three years, with no salary to speak of, and I was pretty entrenched... but then suddenly I realised people I didn't know were talking about it, and it was becoming 'that really cool art cafe in town'. My ultimate goal was always to see it sustain itself, and I realised I could only see it clearly for what it was by removing myself from the picture. It was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately I wanted the time to focus on my own artwork.