“I let myself risk and experiment…”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Natalie Wiswell
Paul Zimmerman:How did you develop interest in art?
Natalie Wiswell: Connection and interest in art is built through connection and interest to the inner self and the world that surrounds us. I spent a lot of time in nature since an early age. Outside regardless of the weather with friends or alone. As a child, I used to spend countless hours talking to trees or observing the clouds, playing with insects. And reflecting and observing what was happening in my inner world. Nature is my first and main teacher of art, as it consists of a perfect balance of everything. It has music and smell and taste and colours, shapes and movements and sacred geometry. Recognising all of this sacredness and beauty within yourself leaves you no chance but to create.
PZ: What is the most important part in your paintings?
NW: Maybe it’s the title of the work or the little story behind it. Like the name given to a child, it sums up the universe which is reflected in the elements of the work, brings the chaos to an order, pronounces the unspeakable. And the details are also very important and intentionally presented in the work. Each can be a portal to a parallel world, where dreams come true.
PZ: How do you identify yourself as an artist?
NW: Perhaps I’m like a musical instrument, a flute, constantly tuning myself to surroundings by means of my painted stories. As music flows through the instrument, the creation comes through me and lands on paper. I believe that with proper dedication, any person can become such a flute in their own field of interest.
PZ: Your works have a meditative quality. Is there a spiritual aspect to you work?
NW: Many people say my paintings have a calming aura and instil hope. I had a specific experience myself when I had a very stressful time in my life and passed by my own work in the house. I was too stressed and not ready to be in the state of flow and create, but I watched my painting with the eyes of a stranger and it brought me back to a calm state of mind and gave me hope. My own painting, touched, awoke and healed my spirit. I sincerely hope other people can benefit from them too.
PZ: Have your practice changed over time?
NW: I’ve became more confident in myself and free in my expression. I’m no longer afraid of unique, powerful ideas that are asking to be released.
PZ: How do you find the balance between traditional and contemporary ?
NW: I stay curious. I try to stay open and not to reject everything that is new immediately. I let myself risk and experiment. I use traditional values as a base and brand new phenomenons as additions, to connect and balance.
PZ: What is your artistic process? How do you create your paintings?
NW: Ideas of images and titles for artworks just come to me.
I guess all the previous life experience accumulates in one big bang, new universe, new idea.
As I do long walks in the nature or meditate or do groceries in supermarket. An image or title can suddenly come during conversation with a friend…All I have to do is try to balance my life and myself, to keep my mind and heart open for those gifts of inspiration to come. And then I take them with gratitude and respect. As idea comes I take time and write it down immediately. I make a little sketch sometimes. But not often. I usually paint “from zero” I let it flow out of me and register on the white paper with almost no interference from my side!
I paint mostly with music. I pay a lot of attention to details and progress slowly.
And when there’s a time, there comes this feeling…like you want to smile and sing and dance, all at the same time.
It’s a huge relief and enormous joy. Idea expressed. Similar to a feeling of just giving a birth to a child…a soul is flying.Painting is finished.
PZ: Which artists are you most influenced by?
NW: I love anyone who is being their self. Who risk everything to remain creative authentic and loving! Anyone who’s work is inspiring and healing. I’m fascinated by Matisse for example. He managed to save the purity and creativity of a child in his works. His works bring light and hope. And they are unique and different.
PZ: How do you see the role of art in our society?
NW: I think art works directly with our ego. Beauty of art destroys it for some time. It breaks the border separating us from each other from our authentic self, our soul…our capability to feel, love, see things clearly. Art takes us on a journey, somewhere higher, to the unknown exciting beautiful places. We let go of your ego at least for some time as we fall in love with painting, music or poem or dance. We feel connected, understood, understanding.. we feel home. Art creates this universal language that connects people on a very deep sacred level. It connects people and it connects each person to his centre. So art is very important for the well-being of the society, for the well-being of our big individual soul.
PZ: How does the pandemic influence your work and sensibility?
NW: More than ever I understood what is important in this life and what is not.
These challenging times are just another reminder that life is a gift and we need to spend it doing our best, following the call of our hearts and should all plant our own gardens of love, beauty and hope.