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The Interview Series: Natasha White

An Interview With Natasha White

If you are like me, you are fascinated by the lives of artists. Where do they find inspiration? What is their favorite of all mediums?

Over the next several months, I have several interviews lined up to share with you. If you enjoy the interviews, please comment, ask questions of the interviewee, and let me know how I can improve the dialogs. Please help spread the word by tweeting or sharing on Facebook. Thank you! 

Natasha is a Mixed Media artist living in New Zealand. When I'm bleary-eyed in the morning, I love getting a cheerful email from wide-awake Natasha responding to some sort of babbling questions I'd sent the night before. I'm honored that Natasha and I have become friends {although we've not "met" in person} through a shared love of art journaling, painting, creative problem solving and mothering. 

In order to meet Natasha, I thought you might like to hear her delicious voice. And so here is her video introduction. Natasha blogs at Natasha White Designs.

[All artwork and photography in this post are copyright Natasha White and utilized with permission from the artist.]

1. Tell me a bit about the mediums you most adore.

The mediums I most are adore are paints, specifically acrylics, and gesso. I have just started trying to use oils, and I aim to become more proficient with watercolours, but my first love and hearts desire are acrylic paints.

2. It seems that your paintings are inspired by many things. The world within and around you. There is a Maori or aboriginal influence to your work, perhaps. Living in New Zealand, do you find that your history and culture influence your work?

I think all of us are influenced to some extent by what is around us and where we are, and the cultural lens with which we look at the world. Not just visual artists, but all people. I am part Maori, and so that does have an impact on the way I see the world, and the imagery that speaks to me, and that I respond to. I think being part Maori also makes it harder in some ways as well, because there are cultural considerations to be had, in regards to imagery I may paint that I may not have regard to if I wasn't Maori. Always at the back of my mind, I don't want to be disrespectful or seen to be disrespectful, or to diminish the sacredness of any beliefs and I don’t profess to be an expert of any kind and so I am also always a little scared when I put up art featuring Maori imagery that I may step over boundaries albeit unknowingly. So I guess yes is the short answer. :) I think living in New Zealand, and the history and culture that comes with that directly influences me personally and so also the art I produce. I am drawn to indigenous tribal and prehistoric art in general as well, which is in some ways connected, for not only the visual imagery, but the way that that style of art can connect to my soul and tell stories and teach us about ourselves.

3. Are you a morning person or a night person? And when do you find yourself doing art?

I am a night person by choice. Without doubt, I find it much easier to stay up than to wake up! I studied the same way. With children, it doesn’t really matter as much I don’t think. They don’t tend to care if I find it easy in the mornings or not. :) I do art at any time of the day, whether that is the morning or the afternoon or night. I grab my moments. However, my beloved is away for work a lot, and when he is I tend to stay up much later at night and paint, and I seem to accomplish a lot more then.

4. What habits do you use to spark your creativity?

The biggest habit to spark my creativity is to show up and do something. There are days and moments you don’t want to. You get stuck in a painting and don’t know what to do next. Your page is unfinished and you don’t know how to finish it. You don’t know how to start the canvas, or the journal page. We all have those moments, where it feels like the muse has departed us for foreign shores. But sometimes I just have to force myself to pick a brush, a colour and put something down. I write morning pages most days, I struggled reading The Artist’s Way, but morning pages are invaluable for me, for clearing out the deadwood if nothing else. I sometimes smudge myself, or my dining room area (where I make most of my art), or light incense or play music, all to clear the energy if I am really stuck (or tidy up if I am really stuck).

I also try to meditate every day and get some exercise even if it is walking the dogs, and sometimes I just need to be near the ocean for a bit. If I am really stuck I also need to stay away from the internet and look for the inspiration around and in me. There is nothing more guaranteed to freeze me up if I am in that place then looking at what others are doing and comparing myself to other people. At the end of the day, I could do all that and still end up navel gazing sometimes. So I need to pick a brush up. And begin making a mark, even if it is rubbish art, sometimes you have rubbish that needs to come out I think, before you can get unstuck.


5. What role does your art journal, or your practice of art journaling, play in your daily life? 

The role my art journal plays in my life is so vital and yet varied. Sometimes it is a therapist and I journal screeds of thoughts before I cover it all in paint. Other times it is a record of a particular event, or memory. Sometimes it is a place to explore ideas or techniques. Sometimes I am just unsettled and I need to do something and get something out. Sometimes it is a place holder for little bits of my life that I don’t want to lose. I try and art journal every day, to do something at least. I notice when I don’t, and it is one of my main tools I use for my depression and anxiety. Overall my art journal makes me a much nicer person, I can’t even imagine not doing it, it is just a part of my every day.

6. Draw or paint a little pie and divide it into your creative endeavors, with bigger sections showing where you spend more time. 

As an aside, when even considering creative endeavours, it was a bigger task to even define what creative endeavours included for me. In the end I decided on my categories, but they are reasonably fluid. So if I need to find time I will borrow it out of one of the other categories, and though I shouldn’t (for the sake of my mental health), it tends to come out of my art journaling time.

7. Could you share a favorite quote? 

My favourite quote in the whole wide world is this:

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Pablo Picasso

Here's where you can find Natasha! 

[All artwork and photography in this post are copyright Natasha White and utilized with permission from the artist.]

Explore The Interview Series! 

① Marit Barentsen, mixed media artist and founder of Featuring Magazine.

②: Mixed media artist Natasha White.

③ Podcaster and fiber artist Amy Cowen.

④ Mixed media artist Diana Trout.

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Reader Comments (14)

I love the interviews ..... you are always inspiring !!!! thanks

08.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarriet

Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. The honour is mine. Thank you. As I sit here bleary-eyed, please know how much you have touched me. More than I could say. xx

08.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

A lovely interview thanks Tammy. I've checked in on Natasha's blog for a while now.

I was interested in her comments regarding Maori culture. New Zealand is bi-cultural and as Pakeha (non-Maori), I have a strong affinity with many aspects of Maori culture especially in regards to my feelings for this land and surrounding sea - I feel like I am part of it.

We're a nation of people, Maori and Pakeha, who have all traveled a very long way to reach these shaky little islands at the far end of the world and I think it shows in our art and approach to life. At times our survival has been based on our mutual respect, support and willingness to adopt parts of each others culture and support one another by being respectful of what is sacred. We are responsible for one another's welfare.

Aroha nui

Brilliant! I really enjoyed this - listening and reading. Thanks Natasha for sharing, and Tammy for posting. I love the artwork featured, and really interested to learn you're part Maori, Natasha; Maori carving and symbols have always fascinated me. I laughed about you being an art supplies junkie; me too! I need to be strict and work my way through using up what I have :))

I love natsha!! Everyone go tell her how pretty and talented and pretty she is. Do it Right Now!!!

08.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Great interview again... this is going to be a series I look forward to reading as each new interview goes up... can't wait for the next one xx

Natasha is a gift to the world <3

08.15.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjane

From one Natasha (who lives in the Big Apple) to another Natasha (who lives in New Zealand) I can tell you that your art, your words, your beautiful voice and soul make the distance disappear in all areas of life. You have a way of creating and communicating that just makes me stop to look, to *see* with my soul and think with my heart. You are such a gifted, talented soul. Thank you Tammy for creating this series and thank you Natasha for sharing your incredible self!

08.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

Oh it is so awesome to see and hear you Natasha!! I absolutely LOVE and ADORE you--and your beautiful, beautiful paintings!!!!!!!!

Acrylics make me happy too!! (I want that on a t-shirt!)

BIG Hugs,

08.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie Hozvicka

Lovely to see and hear you Natasha :) I think most of us know that adrenalin rush when it comes to art supplies. I never did 'get' bags and shoes (though my girls are all addicts when it comes to those!) but paint and sketchbooks? Oh yeeeeeah!

Tammy - I was reading your copyright info - did you know there is a little code you can implant to try and stop people pinning? I know I have become much more pin aware with Pinterest since I realised how it was affecting people. I mainly use it as a source of photos to draw and recipes now and I always try and make sure it links back to the proper site. Anyway - here is the link to the code if you don't know about it already :)

08.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen

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