Featured Artist: Natalie Perkins

FK talks to Brisbane based artist, Natalie Perkins. Natalie is the illustrator of our new beautiful Brisbane flyer!

How would you best describe your style and how has it evolved?
I have a lot of trouble describing my style! Most of the time I just say I’m an illustrative designer, using hand drawn elements to build pictures. I’ve always doodled, and in the last five years I’ve focused on resolving those doodles and repeating them, building up density and texture so that they become finished works in their own right!

Where do you seek inspiration?
Being very detail oriented, I find inspiration in the most ordinary places. I’m drawn to details in furniture and interior design much of the time: ornate frames, knick knacks and trims. I love taking photos of unusual compositions in our natural and human built environments too.

How long have you been creating your art and how did you start?
I studied visual art at uni, straight out of school, and that was well over a decade ago now. Reflecting back on my studio art days I can see common threads in my work too – the obsession with details and drawing, as well as my pondering on a woman’s place in art was evident in my work back then too. After working as a graphic designer for a few years I decided to strike out on my own in 2008 and now combine graphic design and art in ways that make sense and meaning for me and for my clients.

What is your creative process?
Much of my time is spent thinking and writing – I’d never really recognised how important reflection and writing were on my art work until I started to blog. Even though they seem like distinctly different activities, there are common threads, and I often think about drawing while writing, and writing while drawing!

When I work on commissioned pieces, I take lots of notes and do lots of sketching. These sketches and drafts go back and forth between me and my clients; I’m sure I adopted this method from being a graphic designer but it works well for me. I am always open to constructive criticism, and I love to solve problems. When the ideas and layout are resolved, I draw up all the components required and then compile them using Photoshop. If I’m doing a straight illustration, I ink and colour by hand.

What materials to you like to explore and why?
I’ve always been a drawer, it’s something I can’t not do. So I’m fond of drawing materials: pencils, a huge variety of pens, ink and watercolour. This year I’ve felt a little more confident to explore paper cutting and embroidery too. Mark making is important to me, and I’m sure I’ll always be looking for different ways to do it!

What do you love most about Brisbane as a creative city?
I love that Brisbane is coming into its own as an incubator of creative talent. I don’t love that the industry struggles to support us all, but I guess that will come in time. Brisbane has creativity in the most unexpected places, it has to fight to survive sometimes, but when you stumble across an awesome piece of graf, some guerrilla knitting or even another local artist hidden amongst the sprawling suburbs… it spurs you on.

What has been your favourite project/exhibition to work on and why?
I really liked working on pieces for the Leeloo Disband show this year, because I decided to show pieces that used different mark making techniques. I did a multi-layered paper cut piece inside a shadow box that took forever, and hurt my hands, but experimenting with it was worth all the pain!

What new works or projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m hoping to take a break from commissioned pieces for a little while so I can focus on my personal work. It’s hard to develop my personal style when I’m working with clients, because I don’t want to scare them with too much experimental stuff! I also just want to improve my art making, and the running of my creative practice. I do ongoing work with a few clients, like Brisbane’s Charlie Mayfair, so fans of the band will be able to see more of my work on posters and stuff in the coming months.



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