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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Dark fairytale: An interview with artist and illustrator Natasha Chambers

Artist and illustrator Natasha Chambers talks to Amelia’s Magazine about nostalgia, details and the eerie undercurrents of fairytales.

Written by Jessica Furseth

Babylon Twins

Dreamy, try intricate details dominate Natasha Chambers’ work, viagra sale and you can easily imagine her immersed in creation, viagra sitting by a large window overlooking some light-drenched Cornish beach. Cups of tea go cold as she pieces together the exquisite tiny patterns or the bold colours of her latest ‘Bywa’ series, a homage to the stories and beauty of Cornwall. But as Natasha has entitled one of her collages, ‘You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star’ – there are also hints of darkness underneath all the beauty. You can’t have one without the other.

Watergate (part of Bywa)

Most of your work has an amazing level of detail, be it the horses as waves, embroidery patterns or the butterfly wings. It’s beautiful, but it must be very time-consuming?
It is really time consuming, but I get all my satisfaction from the details. It’s a double-edged sword because these details also drive me mad. Sometimes the dots and lines imprint themselves in my head in the same way as when you look at the sun and then look away and you see suddenly see black spots.

There seems to be a lot of nostalgia in your work, or maybe this is just what it feels like when a piece of art focuses on nature? Do you consider yourself a nostalgic person?
I suppose I am a nostalgic person – and perhaps nature and childhood are synonymous in these feelings of the past. I have a box on my dresser, a treasure box if you like that could belong to a magpie, where I hoard broken bits of things that I have picked up over the years that I am unable to part with.

Yesterday

While the work is very pretty, there are also plenty of slightly twisted elements within the art, with the snakes and skulls. Do you do this to create contrasts, or is it because beauty on its own can be a bit, well, dull?
With every fairy tale there is always a dark side that creates tension with its lighter facade. You only have to think of the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm or even Walt Disney to see there is always this balance. Imagine Snow White without the Evil Queen.

In Stitches

I first saw your work at the Last Tuesday Society’s Beasts Royal exhibition (review here), and you’ve been part of prior shows there as well. Could you tell us a bit about what it’s like to work with the amazing Last Tuesday Society please?
Mr Wynd has a fine collection of treasures. His shop makes you feel like a child in sweetshop, so I was obviously very pleased to have some work there. The show Beasts Royal was curated by Alice Herrick, who also curates the House of Fairy Tales with Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis. Their shows are consistently beautiful and intriguing – bringing together a wonderful selection of artists to show in some great spaces. Shows have included the exquisite trove exhibition at the Newlyn Art Gallery and the House of Fairy Tales at the Saatchi Gallery and Millennium Gallery in St Ives. In Newlyn, each artist was invited to donate an object of interest to them either created or found to create a wonderful cabinet of curiosities amongst a plethora of carefully selected objects from museums across the Cornish county.

Bowerbird (part of Beasts Royal)

How do you build up your work? What inspires you?
It usually evolves through many stages and I work using quite a ramshackle but huge library of reference material. I am especially inspired by the narrative form of literature. I studied storytelling in LA and whilst I thought I would become a writer realised I was more interested in the static image. At some point I would like to return to the written word. I can remember quite vividly the books I was read as a child from their images, they’re works of art that are very engraved into my psyche.

Polzeath (part of Bywa)

The Bywa series seems different from your other work. There is less detail, but there’s also really wonderful use of colour with the green clouds and pink sky. I especially love Polzeath, the one with white-patterned sand and skies. What’s the inspiration behind this series?
I live in Cornwall, and apart from the stunning beauty of the area I live in, it is also rich in legends and it feels like the land itself breaths this ancient folkloric history. I find it very inspiring. Bywa means ‘to be alive’ in Cornish, or Kernuek. I thought this was an appropriate title especially given as the work became vividly coloured. The most recent pieces in the series, such as St Enodoc and Watergate, are almost made up entirely of dots and lines and are very intricate. St Enodoc even has a few lines of one of Sir John Betjeman’s poems half hidden in a cloud – he was very fond of this part of Cornwall and is now buried in the church.

Yellow

You do commissioned work for magazines, music and advertising. How did you go from being a design student to being a successful working artist?
After I graduated I was forced to do commercial work as a way of creating income but these projects were also useful in developing technical and artistic confidence and also a linguistic freedom. I have gradually tried to spend more and more time on my own work. I’m currently working some new ideas for an exhibition coming up, but also some commissions and other work.

Natasha Chambers

See more of Natasha Chambers’ work on her website.

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3 Responses to “Dark fairytale: An interview with artist and illustrator Natasha Chambers”

  1. Trisha says:

    Natasha’s work is fascinating. The questions and the write up really capture it well. Love it !

  2. Abi says:

    What a wonderful artist! This is the first time I’ve seen her work, and this is a great article about her. I’m utterly enchanted!

  3. Bunny says:

    Intriguing, what imagination and versatility this talented artist shows. I can’t wait to see more of her work. Fascinating!

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