From megacity to meadows, how a Russian artist moved to Switzerland
Natalya Samsonova grew up in a family of artists. She has worked as a designer and as an art director with Cosmopolitan and several well-known Russian brands. Natalya has also been involved in numerous photo shoots with stars from the fashion industry, including Paris Hilton and Georgia May Jagger. She has admired the artistic photography genre and has made a series of collages. Some of these collages have been on display in Moscow and Zürich.
Natalya’s grandfather was a member of the Russian Art Academy, and her father inspired her with his workshop and exhibitions at some of the top museums in Russia.
I liked to be in my father’s workshop. There was always a working atmosphere – sketches, etudes, engravings, sheets with drawings, an easel with an unfinished canvas, and a colorful palette. There were also several interesting things, including ancient samovars, irons, various household utensils, historical costumes from different eras, and books, books, books.
After living a noisy lifestyle in the megacity of Moscow, Natalya has finally found herself in Switzerland. Recently, Natalya had the opportunity to share her emotional experience with SUISSEPIC.
SUISSEPIC: When did you start painting? Is there a story behind it?
Natalya: There was no time for creativity in Moscow because of my hectic life and working full-time. I really wanted to go into the fine arts, but it was just impossible. However, my life changed three years ago – I moved to Switzerland. Because of this rare opportunity, I am forever grateful to my husband.
SUISSEPIC: Your works are full of colors and emotions. Is there a message that you are trying to convey through them?
Natalya: I am full of emotions. All of my sensations, the sounds, the rhythms, and the colors inspire me.
Switzerland to me is a combination of toy villages scattered across picturesque valleys, captivating Alps, well-arranged meadows, and endless blue lakes along the horizon. The small medieval towns, the narrow streets, the fairy tale castles sitting atop of mountains, and the calm atmosphere of everyday life – all this and more reflect the captivating beauty of Switzerland.
I wanted to convey all of these charms in my works.
SUISSEPIC: What inspires you to create art? What about life?
Natalya: Everything that seems interesting will inspire me to create new works of art. This includes a starry sky, the Sun, artwork from the old masters, music, traveling, pleasant chats, and the warmth of a fireplace.
SUISSEPIC: Do you remember the first day when you arrived in Switzerland?
Natalya: Yes of course. My son and I completed a four-day journey to Baden. We stopped in various places along the way, including the Brest Fortress, the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, and the Dresden Art Gallery. We also had the opportunity to admire the beauty of nature and the cities on the journey. We arrived in Baden late in the evening, but we felt as if we were finally home.
SUISSEPIC: How was it to change environments, moving from noisy Moscow to mellow Switzerland?
Natalya: Switzerland is a very calm country. It’s true. As a megacity, Moscow offers a lot of work opportunities. It taught me how to work hard, be stubborn, and optimistic. In Switzerland, there are some difficulties when it comes to answering your true calling. However, I could start my way as an artist thanks to Switzerland’s calm atmosphere.
I do miss my Russian family, my friends, and the places I visited as a child. I will say that I only realized how beautiful, big, and prosperous Moscow is after I moved to Switzerland. I understand how sincere Russians are, and the many opportunities that Russia has to offer everybody. It may sound strange, but when I left Russia, I became a true patriot. I now go to Moscow for energy and the adrenaline.
SUISSEPIC: What were the easiest and most difficult things about moving to another country?
Natalya: The easiest thing about moving was deciding on the move itself. The most difficult thing about moving to another country was having the documents.
SUISSEPIC: Where do you live in Switzerland?
Natalya: I live in the small cozy town of Baden in the Canton of Aargau. This old town is located along the banks of the Limmat River and is about 15 minutes from Zürich. If you have the opportunity to climb up the slope to the Habsburgs’ Stein Castle, then you will enjoy wonderful panoramas of Baden, its surroundings, and the snow-capped Alps.
Baden was the capital of Switzerland from 1436 to 1712. It was here that the peace treaty was signed between France and the Holy Roman Empire. In the 15th century, Baden gained popularity as a spa resort. Here, individuals such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann liked to relax.
SUISSEPIC: Where is your artwork being exhibited? Are there any future plans for your next exhibition?
Natalya: I am currently in the process of finishing up a series of works that pertain to Switzerland and preparing my exhibition. I am trying not to think too far ahead.