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Nina Satie's imagetic universe is composed from studies of self-image. She reproduce her reflections, literal and abstract, in search of a genuine understanding and construction of identity, identifying the symbols and patterns of her own psyche, understanding that they are structures that constantly change, when crossing the most diverse relations between internal and external worlds, at the intersections of gender, class, and race. You can find more of her work on Instagram

Nina provided the illustration for the May 4 story “Have Your #Hugot Harvested at This Diwata-Owned Café” by Vida Cruz.

“Quimera” © 2019 by Nina Satie

Hi Nina! It's a pleasure to have your art in Strange Horizons. How is work during quarantine going? 

Hey, the pleasure is all mine! Well, it has been rather active and a bit weird, ’cause now I have all this time in my hands and it feels like I can learn and create almost anything and that’s exhilarating, but at the same time it’s a lot harder to keep a routine, so there’s a lot of ups and downs. I’m experimenting with time to see what works best for me given the circumstances.


Who are your main references in the visual arts?

Right now I would say Naudline Cluvie Pierre and Rajni Perera, but since I started painting the most prominent influences in my work have been Belkis Ayón and Betye Saar. Their research and body of work speaks to me on a spiritual level. They’re everything I want to become and achieve with my work’s poetic.


Your work has a very fluid, almost musical quality to it. Do you find inspiration in music or artists from different media as well? 

I totally do! I can almost sense a symbiotic connection between color, sound, movement, and emotion, like they’re all part of the same composition. I’ve been listening to Spelling's Mazy Fly a lot while making art, the album has that kind of texture.


"Jupiter’s Dancers” © 2018 by Nina Satie


Please tell us more about your usual process with traditional art, from the first idea to the last brush.

The idea can surface from a variety of sources. A passage from a book, part of a song lyric, a movie screen, something I experienced and wrote or even dreamed about. I pay close attention to why it captivated me in the first place, what are the symbolic aspects surrounding, what is the message. Painting for me is a form of decoding unexpressed emotions, I guess. After this, I may photograph myself, look at a mirror, find a form to reproduce. I’m always looking at myself, trying to understand what it is that I see in the reflection. The whole process is pretty intuitive.


Your illustration for “Have Your #Hugot Harvested at This Diwata-Owned Café” by Vida Cruz was one of your first digital paintings. What made you start venturing into digital art, and how are you adjusting to the differences between digital and traditional?

I ran out of canvases, wasn’t able to buy a new one at the moment. I had this tablet for over two years, barely used it ‘cause I was too deep in the processes of traditional painting. It felt like an opportunity to interact and adapt to the current environment, so I took the chance. The digital world is just a multiverse at your fingertips, there’s the possibility of testing every single outcome to your liking without spending a single resource, so in that sense it felt a little easier to adjust. But there’s a whole sensory experience lacking, in which traditional art can take you so easily. I appreciate both media for what they allow me to create.


“Lumina” © 2019 by Nina Satie

What is the piece you're most proud of and why?

Probably “Lumina.” It’s a 70 x 130cm painting, almost my size, the biggest I painted so far (not considering outdoors murals). I have it hanging on my wall like an ever observant guardian. I consider it to be my best piece, although it’s not finished.


Like our March artist, DAPENHA, you also appeared in Emicida's anthology Pra Quem Já Mordeu Um Cachorro Por Comida Até Que eu Cheguei Longe. How were you approached by him/the project, and how was the experience of working with such a strong name of Brazilian music? 

It was through a fellow artist called LOAD, he was one of the organizers. Overall it was an interesting experience, I had to adapt to the characters and storyline that was very apart from what I usually do. But I found freedom in it as well, I’m very proud of the outcome. Overall, it was a grand honor and the project was executed beautifully.


What other cool projects have you participated in over the last couple of years that you would like to share with us?

Most recently I participated in the first edition of the Black Brazil Art Biennial with two of my pieces. It happened in Porto Alegre. They were both selected for a collective exhibition in Uruguay (that now is put on hold). It was the first time I showed my art outside the place I live, it was really significant to my career.


What about the future? What lies ahead of you regarding art?

I’m guessing music making or animation, participating in every art call and entry I find, giving myself the time and energy to thrive in whatever new endeavor comes my way. But it doesn’t matter what I do really, it will always be about the new ways of experimenting with color, sound, and movement.


Progress of "Maria and a Heart" © 2020 by Nina Satie


Dante Luiz is an illustrator, art director for Strange Horizons, and occasional writer from southern Brazil. He is the interior artist for Crema (comiXology/Dark Horse), and his work with comics has also appeared in anthologies, like Wayward Kindred, Mañana, and Shout Out, among others. Find him on Twitter or his website.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
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Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
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