Valley of the Nightflowers: Natasha Lea – hipflask

Valley of the Nightflowers: Natasha Lea

‘Ever notice a woman who stands out effortlessly from the crowd?’

Featuring a local, all female artist line up including Anya BrockCalliope BridgeHayley WelshJodee KnowlesKim Kim KimMondaySarah McCloskeySheryl Young and Sofia Varano – Valley of the Nightflowers is an art exhibition that gloriously and unashamedly celebrates these wild women and intriguing night flowers.

I spoke with Natasha Lea and Haylee Fields (aka.Fieldey),amazing individuals who not only feature in the show, but also curated and organised the event ahead of the opening on Sunday.

Below is the chat I had with Natasha with Fieldey’s released next week.

You have said in the past that with every exhibition you learn something new – what have you learnt in putting together Valley of the Nightflowers?
So much, for one I’ve learnt it really helps to have someone to work with in curating a show of this magnitude. Haylee Fields and myself compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well, it has been priceless having her by my side.  Her knowledge of digital media and marketing has given this exhibition such credit! Hayley has been able to pick up where my knowledge is limited and really lead the way in finding sponsors through her knowledge and history within the digital marketing world.
It has also proven that artist management and curating exhibitions is something I love to do, more than putting on solo shows for myself. Hosting group exhibitions has so much more excitement and personal rewards. Getting to meet and exhibit with such amazing talent really just makes it worthwhile. It’s a direction I m strategically directing my life towards and I hope people have enjoyed working with me in return.

What inspires your portrayal of females/women in your art?
The people I meet and the stories they tell combined with memories from my life and the pop culture that has tattooed my soul is how my girls are formed. While I draw, I’ll have an entire narrative in my mind, I try to capture this in my female figures. My girls, they are always busy, I like to think of my illustrations as a candid snapshot of their life.  Like I have been watching them in the wild, as a documentary maker would, in the wilderness when a lion is hunting its prey and they capture that perfect moment that identifies that lion as a strong, determined force.

You said you started your artistic career in 2012, what are some of the proudest achievements/memorable moments over the past couple years?
Though I have been creating one thing or another all my life, I had not taken my art seriously until Chrissie Parrrott of Chrissie Parrrott Arts told me I should exhibit. So I did, in her gallery in 2012 and things kind of coasted on from there. People seemed to like my little black and white illustrations more than anything and it inspired me to cerate my girls. Creating these girls lead to my first sell out solo exhibition in 2013, then again in 2014, all these moments are my most memorable.

How do your thought processes translate onto paper? What are your rituals, habits, methods to control the madness? 
Oh goodness, can we turn this into a short story?? Haha.
I have so many, seeing as I have a 4-year-old boy, it can be quite difficult to get my ideas onto the drawing board when I’d like to. So I have a million and one notes in my phone that I will reference back to when I get the lone time I need to begin an illustration. I cannot start a new illustration when there are distractions around or without a strong cup of tea.  So when I do have my time, I make the perfect tea, 2 extra strength Dilmah tea bags with a dash of milk, find the music I’m feeling for that moment, put my headphones in, adjust my lamp about 5 times, organize my  pens so I already know which ones work perfectly, which ones work ok but a bit blunt, and which ones are pretty much dead… nothing frustrates me more than rummaging through my pens to find the one that works how I need. Then as soon as I’m ready to draw, I clean and put on my glasses and stare at he paper a lot… planning, figuring out how to compose this story I have in my head.
I always start by drawing the eyes and head placement of the main character. Everything else just falls into place after they are correct.
People who buy my art will probably notice (if they ever took it out of the frame) that here are so many notes, and scribbles all around the edge of my drawing. My thoughts come in fast and strong, and I cannot draw fast enough, so I write everything down. I make notes, I write down what song I was listening to and always reference back. Because I do get distracted and If I want to pick up where I left off, I need the same song and the same thought process to come flowing right back, otherwise that illustration will change dramatically.

 I read you also sometimes design wedding gowns, talk me through that.
Well yes I do, thank you for bringing that up. I never really get to talk about that side of my life. I love designing and manufacturing wedding gowns. They are beautiful; I get to work with amazing textiles and girls who just want to be spoilt. I get to put in all this effort and detail into one dress and that’s the cherry on the top… I only have to make that dress once. The satisfaction of knowing that dress is only going to be worn once, on a very special occasion and knowing that whoever is inside that dress, feels like they own the world, is pretty damn amazing.
I only get time to make one, maybe two a year as illustrating and family life keep my schedule pretty full.

What can we expect at the Valley of the Nightflower’s exhibition? What are you excited about?
As the artist management side of the exhibition, I am very lucky in that I get to see all the art before it is hung… and let me tell you, you will not know who is an emerging artist or who is the well known artist just by looking at the works. Everyone involved has been very excited for this show and have stepped up their game! I’m extremely proud of how well everyone is getting involved in The Valley of the Nightflowers vision and its going to be hard to create another show, in the future quite like this one. There are so many artworks I want hanging on my walls from this show, and the girls have been very fair in their pricing so its going to be hard to walk away without someone’s art in my hand (so to speak).
People can expect to be impressed, with the variety and quality of art on the walls.

Valley of the Nightflower’s runs from the 8th – 22nd of November.
Find full details on the Hipflask app and check out the blog next week for our in depth chat with the other curator and one of Perth’s best street artists Fieldey.

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