Ukrainian-American artist Nataliya Tyaglo creates vibrant, rich, and personal art. Tyaglo’s work is deeply-rooted in her own culture, constantly pulling from the sources of her own heritage to inspire creativity. A San Francisco resident, Tyaglo seems to have never lost the value of her own heritage.

“Every time I go back to Ukraine, I just feel so native,” Tyaglo said. “I love the land. I love the people. Despite conflict and aggression, I just think there is something so powerful in that part of the world.

hud_02As a ten-year-old, Tyaglo immigrated to Ukraine in 1994. Always creating art on the side, Tyaglo didn’t pursue it professionally until after she finished her BA at UC Berkeley with a degree in Psycholinguistics. After taking what she called a “real job,” Tyaglo made an important self-realization.

“I just noticed that I had less and less time to create art,”

hud_03Tyaglo said. “I didn’t feel like I was doing what I was gifted to do. Being an artist requires to you to fuse together your personal and professional life, although that’s discouraged in other professions, so I left my job and decided to do art full-time.”

Tyaglo then traveled to Ukraine, reconnecting with her roots and networking with Ukrainian artists. One Ukrainian artist in particular, Sergiy I. Ivanov, inspired Tyaglo the most.

“Not only did I like his process of painting, I also liked the subject matter,”

hud_04Tyaglo said. “He seemed knowledgeable in Ukrainian tradition.” On her next trip to Ukraine, Tyaglo returned to complete an apprenticeship with Ivanov.

“This may sound silly, but my mission with art is to spread love,’’

Tyaglo said. “I see how people approach life from basically two sources: out of love or out of fear, and when people are in love, they make better and kinder decisions on a personal level and on a global level.”

hud_05Tyaglo’s work seems to try and showcase the love exhibited in Ukrainian culture.

hud_06“I’m kind of very disappointed that the Ukrainian image just wasn’t presented in a popular way,” Tyaglo said. “I went to the Ukrainational National Museum in Lviv once because I wanted to see an exhibition on Ukrainian heritage, and instead I saw an exhibition on English clocks and French paintings. When I asked where is the Ukrainian stuff, I was told there is no budget. I needed to do something about it.”

hud_07It seems Tyaglo really has done something about it, plus her art spreads love in culture. One recent project, in particular, showcased the connection with love and culture. Tyaglo interviewed Ukrainians all over the world for inspiration, and then created drawings that portrayed their life experiences growing up as Ukrainians in their homeland.

“Right now in Ukraine, there are enough images of brutality.”

hud_01Tyaglo said. “I believe in optimism because it gives us a sense of energy even when things feel impossible, and right now I’ve challenged myself to create art in a positive outlook.”

By Olga Tymouch