Nataly Benivska is an art director who lives and works in Berlin-Mitte. She’s living in Berlin, and enjoys hip hop dancing and riding her bike with her white terrier in the basket. We talked to the Ukrainian about her Berlin story.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. I lived there until I moved to Kyiv for school when I was 17 years old.
What is the strongest memory you have of your hometown?
The Space Museum. That was the first place that gave me the feeling of a limitless universe. Also, the space suits were pretty damn cool (Nataly laughs.)
What did you do in your hometown? What kind of job did you have?
For mystical reasons, my parents believed, sociology was my future – so I moved to Kyiv to study that. As foolish as it is to ask an 18-year-old about her life passion, I was discovering it one step at a time, shifting from sociology to art direction through account management and graphic design. I was already working with a local advertising agency when it became clear that I am both strategic and creative. While my parents were thinking “what the hell is art direction,” I knew I had to explore it further.
When did you arrive in Germany? Where to?
I went to Hamburg to study at the Miami Ad School Europe for two years. It was a major change for me – moving from “burning” Kyiv (in some parts, quite literally, as I moved after the Revolution) to the calm, melancholic dark streets of rainy Hamburg. That turned out to be the best decision of my life. I fell into a creative hub of passionate people who fueled each other as they work on inspiring projects.
What brought you to Berlin?
I never expected anything from Berlin. Before coming here for an internship, I went to Tokyo and Copenhagen, and I was sure Berlin wouldn’t beat those places. I was right; it didn’t. [Nataly laughs.] At least first. After six months of moving here, I finally understood. And that was about two years ago.
What do you do in your professional as well as private life?
Currently, I am just about to finish working as Junior Art Director at Ogilvy Berlin, after almost two years of working for my clients Coke and Fanta. As a creative, in your free time you must “feed your eyes” a lot, as well as cram a lot of information in your head. To mix it up, I also dance hip hop from time to time and ride my bike around Mitte with my white doggo in the basket.
What is typical of Berlin? What do you love (or hate) about Berlin?
I love that you have to make an effort to love Berlin. You don’t love it with your eyes – you love it for the way you feel here. But I hate when people say “this is Berlin” validating all its flaws or when they don’t know what else to say. Yes, “this is Berlin,” that’s an obvious observation. [Natalie smiles].
What is your favorite place in Berlin?
One of my favorite sights is the open scene of the Monbijou park on a summer evening. I love seeing people dance there.
What is your contribution that makes Berlin a little bit more beautiful?
I never leave my dog’s sh*t on the streets. And you shouldn’t either!