Thursday Spotlight: Natasha Fay

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, in a split creative and academic family. I was also exposed to many different traditions with a Jewish mother and Catholic raised father. I attended a rigorous all girls high school and made an interesting transition to art school at the Rhode Island School of Design. I am now going into my junior year at RISD as an Apparel major and I am hoping/attempting to concentrate in Illustration.

Name some people, artists, artistic genres, etc. that have been influential in your work.

There are many visual artists that I admire and am inspired by, including Louise Bourgeois, Egon Schiele, Masami Teraoka, Daisuke Ichiba, Goya, Diane Arbus and Kiki Smith, to name a few. Although there are many pieces of artwork that I admire for purely aesthetic reasons, it is hard for me to feel inspired by art that does not have a strong concept behind it.

Two of the more influential art movements for me have been French New Wave Cinema and Italian Neorealism. There is something really gripping about European cinema in the post WWII period that will never lose it’s magic or its inherent sadness.

My work has also been highly influenced by literature, mostly Gothic Fiction (such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray) and works of dark humor (like Kurt Vonnegut and Chuck Palahniuk), as well as my favorite childhood authors, Shel Silverstein and Louis Sachar.

Where and how do you get your ideas?

I feel creatively inspired by so many things every day, but most of my ideas come from either reading about topics that interest me or delving into memories of my childhood. I don’t think I will ever run out of ideas pertaining to my childhood. Everyone has their tragedies and I don’t plan on forgetting my own; I want to explore them until I fully understand them.

I also find constant inspiration in my dreams, when I have them. I always write them down. And I have a fascination with rare diseases and mental disorders. That’s mostly what I research…

What materials do you work with? Describe your technical processes.

I am currently studying Apparel in college, so most of my work in the past year has been with fabric, but I absolutely love drawing and painting. I usually work with graphite pencil or micron pen, but as of recently (the past two years) I have also worked a lot with ink. I just recently started to dabble in photography and collage. I also love film and oil painting and wish I had more time to work in those mediums.
For my pieces I generally do a lot of research first and then work from a combination of my head, multiple photos and life. I generally like to draw and paint in a realistic manner, inflicting the fantastical images from my head onto a lifelike representation.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being creative? What is the best part of being creative?

Growing up, the most challenging part of being creative for me was constantly feeling misunderstood. I wanted people to understand my artwork and sort of shove a message down their throat. I think people commonly mistake art school for something easy and mindless and that really upset me a few years ago. Freshman year at art school gave me a good wake up call. Currently, I think the hardest part about being creative is figuring out how I can make a living and also continue to create the art that I want to make for the rest of my life.
The best part about being creative is finding beauty where many people will never see it.

What advice would you give to someone seeking advice about being an artist?

You need to be incredibly invested in it. Life in any creative business will be tough, but if you love it more than anything (with certain exceptions like family and whatnot) than pursuing a career as an artist will be worth it. Even if you don’t plan on a career as an artist, for some people (like me), it would be devastating to never draw again. I would feel so trapped if I couldn’t express myself through my art.

Natasha’s website
Natasha’s email:  nfay@risd.edu

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