Artist Mild Kiriya opens up on her collaboration with NOCKTERN

NOCKTERN‘s tape debut for Amek – ‘NoStalgia’ was recently released and I got immediately attracted to its outstanding art cover. 

‘NoStalgia’ debuted live during Amek Bummer Nights 2019 and was recorded in a single take in February 2020. This 20+ minutes long piece is a watershed moment for the project as it is the last recording before NOCKTERN’s transformation from a solo act into a duo.

The artist behind the visual layout is the young digital creator Mild Kiriya (Galina Atanasova) known for her atypical digital collages reminiscent of a glitch in the matrix.

The collaborations between musicians and visual artists have always been an object of interest for the audience and for me it was a pleasure to chat with Mild about her approach, inspiration, and the meaning she finds in ‘NoStalgia’.

You graduated graphic arts in the National Academy of Arts in 2019 but your work differentiates itself from this art discipline. Please tell us the story of how you develop the style for which you are recognizable today. Share your main influences and inspirations you encountered along the way.

I was very drawn to traditional printing and my impatience didn‘t mix well with that, haha. Combining both digital and analog was also a big thing for me, i really didn‘t want to go with either this or that. I started around 2015-16, got myself a very cheap printer-scanner thing so that i can scan my small ink drawings and i found a tumblr called „vnutrennosti“ (not sure if it still exists but the guy has an instagram with the same name) and it blew me away. It mostly had cut and paste collages and I was thrilled to find something that was very close to what I had in mind. I eventually realised that I can naturally glitch everything I put in the scanner. I just scan everything, be it an object or a picture that i find visually appealing, and i do my best to distort it and f*ck it up until it becomes barely recognisable.

How the creative process is happening in your world? Which is coming first – Do you have a specific concept or emotion which you need to depict visually or vice versa – the visual picture appears before the idea?

Actually, the title comes first with me these days, haha! I narrow down the things I feel in a couple of words and I go from there. But it is usually 50/50 – sometimes i have a very specific idea and i do everything in my power to recreate it visually, but sometimes all it takes for me is to go through my scans or listen to a song and i know exactly what i want to do with it, i can visualize it. I also let things sit for a while, some of the time. I leave it alone until it really feels ready. These days I tend to try and be quick about it before I start overthinking it.

What other types of arts influence you the most? In an interview from the beginning of this year, you mentioned that you are quite influenced by the music and you often named your artworks with names of songs and albums. Who are the artists you are following and listening to at the moment.

Coincidentally, I‘ve been feeling very nostalgic for some time now. I‘ve been listening to music I used to absolutely love a few years back. It‘s a weird combo of The Mars Volta, Devin Townsend, Jeff Buckley, Ministry, Fear Factoy… Currently I keep finding myself relying more on my personal thoughts and experiences for inspiration. But i can‘t really deny it – there is always music in there somewhere, and sometimes, like in this case- it’s the centerpiece.

Had you heard music from NOCKTERN before Amek contacted you to work on the art cover for ‘NoStalgia’? How did you react when you first heard this release and what pictures have been drawing to your mind while listening to it?

I’ve never heard about NOCKTERN until now, and honestly, I‘m glad that I did. I guess I have a weird personal association with it – what came to mind was a weird disconnection between a memory and the feeling (s) attached to it. Sometimes there is nothing, sometimes there‘s a strange dissociation – like you know something happened, you were a part of it but you either don‘t remember it or you have no emotional connection to it whatsoever like you erased it. ‘NoStalgia’ kinda felt like the opposite of deja vu – instead of feeling like you’ve experienced something already, you feel like even though you experienced something you either can’t recollect it or you feel like it never happened at all, but you’re trying to remember it, whether it’s real or not. I hope it makes at least a little sense, hah.

Tell us more about NoStalgia’s art cover and the process of working on it. What is your story behind it?

This is one of the cases in which I almost instantly knew where I was gonna go. I was looking at some old family albums and thought it’d be great for the cover art. So I snatched a couple of black and white pictures, chose one that I really liked, dragged it through my scanner, did some additional things in photoshop, and there it is! I‘m glad the guys from NOCKTERN like it!

What can we expect from you next? Are you planning to participate in any art exhibitions and to collaborate with other artists?

Anything goes at this point really, I don’t have an exhibition planned for the near future, I really want to make it a 100% worth the visit, whenever it happens. So I‘m gonna bide my time for a while. Collabs are definitely in the picture. So, expect the unexpected! Or maybe the moderately predictable, who knows.

Listen ‘NoStalgia’ here & check Mild’s work on Instagram.

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