NADJA MIKKILÄ

Born 1981, Hamburg, Germany

A child of the Cold War, Nadja was born in Hamburg to diplomat Finnish parents. She lived and went to school in East Germany while the Wall was still up, and she even had to cross through Checkpoint Charlie once per week! Are these murky beginnings the source of the darker quality that—to our perverse delight—permeates her work?

An accomplished illustrator and figurative artist, Nadja also excels at abstractionism, which is what got our attention. She uses personal impressions and memories as guides, while she listens to soundtrack music to get into the mood of the painting, and into the “zone”. Her plunge into abstract was a happy accident: while she explored backgrounds for figurative paintings she liked it so much that she then let the abstract come into the foreground. As a truly intuitive artist, she believes figurative work demands control, while abstract work requires mastery at letting go of control. A fan of William Turner, she commands the sweeping gesture, but also the subtle conversations of texture.