A conversation with the Russian multidisciplinary artist Anastasia Rasschupkina
Russian freelance artist and stylist Anastasia Rasshchupkina has a diverse background in the artistic realm. In order to amass a wide understanding of the arts, Anastasia has degrees in the fields of Environment Design, Fashion Styling and Fine Arts from the Moscow State Academy of Arts, Istituto Marangoni and San Francisco Art Institute. Truly a multidisciplinary artist, Anastasia is well-versed in styling, jewelry, sculpture design and fashion. Currently residing in Northern California, Anastastia hopes to merge her passions for sculpture and fashion design. Here to speak about her affluent artistic background and her inspirations, is a conversation with Anastasia Rasschupkina.
You pursued a BA degree in environmental design and then went on to also undertake a BA in fashion styling, what led this change in degree choice?
Fashion has always served as my getaway. I started out as a traditional painter and sculptor and went to Moscow University to study environmental design. But I was very disappointed with the education system in Moscow. I did not like it as it was very conservative and there was minimal incorporation of technology. There was also a strong emphasis on the engineering side of art. However, I'm by no means a mathematician, I'm a creative person. So I decided to apply to different places and went to an open portfolio day at Marangoni, and ended up studying Creative Direction and Fashion Styling there.
You have an MA in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. How would you compare the US creative education with the UK education?
It's difficult to compare the US with UK creative education as the degrees that I pursued were so different. I would say that, in general, the US gives you more freedom. In the US you have a lot more flexibility in choosing what classes you want to take, whereas in the UK the curriculum is a lot more rigid.
Your degrees seem quite scattered, why did you not decide to pursue one degree the whole time?
I think all fields that I did were related, but a big part of it was me trying to find my place. Choosing this one narrow area was challenging because you feel this FOMO by choosing a particular path. Therefore I think my varied educational experience allowed me to experience a range of artistic education. In Russia, I had the experience of a more classical education, Marangoni was more practical and then in San Francisco the course was a lot more theory based.
Who do you look up to?
My main heroes are Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse. Although a cheesy choice, I would also say Alexander McQueen. When I saw his exhibition in London, I was so moved I cried. The design and layout was so spectacular and the way in which he transmitted the mood from one room to the next, was amazing.
Where do you find inspiration from for your styling?
A lot of my inspiration comes from science and history. Concepts that inspire me, are those that are extraterrestrial and foreign. The mystery associated with that interests and challenges me, because I am unable to grasp onto this concept so I create my own visual interpretation of it. A lot of my ideas also come from the small details in life, such as the shadow of a leaf which reminds me of a face. My inspirational process is therefore quite chaotic as there are so many things that trigger my creative process. So I try to keep track of these influences by taking notes or writing them on my hands if I don't have a piece of paper.
Why did you decide to move to Los Angeles?
I moved to LA purely because I like the art community here and I'm in touch with a few artists to work with on collaborative projects which feature my sculptures with their film work.
What advice would you give aspiring students regarding going into fashion styling?
I would say stop comparing yourself to successful people. Don’t try and copy someone else, as the road they took to success likely not apply to you. And take risks! Especially when I analyse where fashion was ten years ago and and where it is now; I remember the concept of putting trash-bags on models would have never ever been acceptable, and now you see it on the runway! So be badass and fearless because you never know if you don't try. And I would also recommend students to reach out to successful people, especially if you're at the beginning of your career. A lot of my classmates would write one email and never get a response and then gave up. But you have to keep calling them and begging until they finally respond.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career as a fashion creative?
I was enjoying creative problem solving as long as can I remember myself. Even though many of the people in my family were engineers and scientists, my great grandmother was a textile artist and so my parents were always very supportive of me. And for me it was always evident that I would go into the visual arts world, I never wanted to be anything else.
Are there any good resources you would suggest for an aspiring designer?
History always turns in spirals, therefore always look back and combine it with current in order to create something cutting-edge.