Illustration, a craft that used to be the corner-stone of "fleshing out" a fashion vision, has become less a lost art than it has become an exercise in defiant nostalgia . But perhaps it is that filigree of romance that renders it such an elegant pursuit in a post-machine, ultra-digital age. I met Miami born artist Natalia Jhete this May and it is indeed that edge of filigree to her work that has stayed on my mind these past few months. I caught up with Natalia for a brief conversation about her work and its sources. This is what she had to express.
Tell us a little bit about your illustration style & how it evolved .
My Illustration style, in my opinion, is very fantastical. I work alot with ink, pencil and watercolor creating imagery and environments that you don't see in real life. People like to be distracted, and tend to want to disconnect by traveling to a fantasy world and my work allows them to do that.
What do you think that fantasy world ultimately expresses?
I think my work expresses the inner child. It has a sense of playfulness and innocence and I would hope that it evokes the same feeling in the viewer.
Tell us a little bit about your technique.
My technique is very tedious. As you can see from my current works I am all about exploring fine lines and I place a huge emphasis on the detail. Ultimately I want people to appreciate my work for its concept but love it for it's details.
How about influences and inspirations? I feel a lot of the fin de siècle as well as a lot of the Art Deco in your style. That era was probably our last great gasp of "decoration" in the arts.
Fin de Siecle and Art Deco have definitely influenced me both as an artist and designer, especially being a Miami native. My work is all about embellishments and fine details which is something apparent in both styles. They also both explore pairing natural round and rigid graphic lines, which is something I have always subconsciously incorporated into my own work.
Have you been drawing all your life Natalia? What kind of schooling have you had?
Art is something that I have been pursuing for a big part of my life. As a child I was always in a school with a magnet program so I took art, music or drama classes. For high school I enrolled at the Design & Architecture Senior High School where I focused on fine arts and fashion design. Studying fashion design eventually lead me to San Francisco where I attended the Academy of Art. Although I was only doing design in school, I made it a goal to continue doing art on my spare tame, and this discipline is what has gotten me to where I am now.
How have you been incorporating the computer in your work?
I look at the computer more as a tool to enhance my work. Most recently I have been exploring digitally merging my work with real life images, pushing my aesthetic of turning the "everyday" into something fantastic. I am all about using my hands to create however I do understand I have to adapt if I want to create work that is relative to the times.
What has been the response to your tactile handcrafted work in an increasingly digitalized world?
I think art that is done by hand is appreciated now more then ever. We are living in a world where everything is mass produced so when you finally see something that is created by hand you can feel the energy that was put into creating it. In my opinion when you look at it you are sharing a more intimate experience between you and the artist and viewers love that moment.
Are you interested in animation or animating your work?
I've considered the idea of animation before. I feel my work is already so characterized and although it is 2 dimensional when I look at it I can see movement and life in it. If ever I do decide to take my work from 2D to 3D will be very important to me that I maintain its hand crafted quality.
What would be the perfect ultimate destination for your work?
The ideal destination for my work would be a cozy little spot somewhere between art and fashion. Like I mentioned previously I have a background in design and ideally I would like to do something that merges these two passions together.