Meet the Maker: Natasha Mistry

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Natasha Mistry creates colorful abstract oil paintings, watercolor paintings, collages, and black and white ink drawings. Natasha's paintings are lively and playful, yet meditative in their complexity. Her drawings, are more contained, and clearly graphic, sometimes minimalist, and esoteric, in nature. Natasha often leaves her work untitled, in order to let the viewer experience the painting through their own eyes.


Q: Where did you grow up?

 
 
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Natasha: I grew up in several places in the UK: North, East, and West, and headed South as an adult; moving to London and then to South Korea. It’s there that I met my husband, an American, who kidnapped me and brought me to Colorado.


Q: What album/song are you currently listening to?

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Natasha: While painting, the two things I’m listening to at the moment are shamanic drumming and Russell Brand podcasts.


Q: At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a creative path?

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Natasha: I knew from the age of three that it was either going to be art or dance.


Q: Are you self taught?

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Natasha: I went to Manchester School of Art in the UK. It was a self-directed Fine Arts degree, and oil painting was my medium. No one really showed me how to paint—it was mostly self-directed and all about experimentation. At the time, conceptual art was really flourishing, and I remember headlines in the papers announcing the end of painting. I was influenced by outsider artists because I believed that their art came directly from their psyche and imagination, rather than being culturally dictated.


Q: Do you recall the first piece you made?

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Natasha: I don't remember the first piece I ever made, but I did go through a long phase of drawing depressed ballerinas. And I remember the first time I used oil paints: I was 15, and knew immediately that this was my medium of choice. I loved the texture of the paint, how I could make it thick or thin, how it could be soft or sculptural. I painted a self-portrait with a Frida Khalo influence, and included symbols that were personal to me. My school put it in the main foyer.


Q: Do you have a favorite piece you’ve made?

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Natasha: I did a month-long residency in the Amazon rainforest. I crushed up rocks from the river basin and made pigments with them, and used natural materials—including accidental bugs—to create an intuitive piece to reflect the song of the rainforest. It was a magical experience.


Q: What do you love most about what you do?

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Natasha: I get to be the producer, director, and actor. I take a raw canvas and a few paints and create a unique expression. Painting is like alchemy, like a psycho-spiritual process; the act itself melds all my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It's very cathartic, very personal, and very difficult—it's hard to be creative, and every day brings challenges and opportunities. That's part of the draw: painting and drawing let me use my voice without having to shout. My art is there if and when people want to experience it.


Q: What are three words you would use to best describe your work?

 

Natasha: The dancing universe.