Featured Artist- Natalia Fabia
Chandeliers made of unicorns, cupcakes, and candiesâ€¦yum, yum. The artist responsible for this kind of creative sweet indulgence is L.A. native (and San Fernando Valley Girl), Natalia Fabia. The adorable young painter recently premiered her clear plastic chandeliers along with a new group of paintings in her show called â€œHookerDreamEscapesâ€ (Corey Helford Gallery, February 21 â€“ March 14 , 2009). Her oil paintings feature a cast of pretty women reveling in moments of both reality-based and fantastical pleasure. Natalia is also accomplished at jewelry making and her pieces can be found online for sale and adorning the women in her oil compositions. While she fancies painting girls, she uses symbols of a Sailor Jerry past as well as prettier female emblems. In person, Natalia embodies the same beautiful sexiness that her subjects do.
Q: Tell me about yourself and how you became a painter?
A: Both my parents were artists, so itâ€™s always been around. I have been trying to draw girls and people ever since I can remember. We have pictures of me when I was 3 trying to paint and draw. Itâ€™s always been a huge part of my life.
Q: So, you were drawing girls back then?
A: I just like pretty things. I always thought, â€œGosh, why is everybody so ugly, I donâ€™t want to draw thatâ€. I knew I liked pretty things and I liked people.
Q: Did you go to art school or have any formal art training?
A: It was always huge for me. In high school, I was art everything – AP art, art this, art that. A teacher got me involved in an after school art program, so I could go to a free scholarship program at USC for high school kids. Later, I heard about Art Center and I wanted to go there for college. That was the only place I applied and I went.
Q: After art school, were you always focused on the figure?
A: No matter what I did I was always painting people. Even if I didnâ€™t for a second, I always went back to it. There was one painting I did without a person and that wasnâ€™t until my last semester of college. It was so hard to do. It was of a living room. I love it now.
Q: Even in your early work, I could see your affinity for depicting sexy women.
A: I was always influenced by pin-up artists, burlesque dancing, and the pin-up era. I was obsessed with Betty Page, and I even did burlesque for a second. I had a lot of friends who were doing it, and I was just obsessed. When Velvet Hammer was big, I was like, this is it. It took me a while to not paint girls who were posed. In college, people were like, â€˜why are you always painting girls posing?â€™ I was influenced by Gil Elvgrin and Vargas and all the pin-up artists. I loved sexiness. Eventually, I stopped posing them, and now I am happy because I feel all my girls are real. They are sexy but arenâ€™t really trying.
Q: The themes in your new show revolve around girlâ€™s hidden desires and secret fantasies. What are the ideas youâ€™re painting?
A: For some reason, I kept being drawn to fantasy. Worlds like ones with candy-colored landscapes. I kept being drawn to things that werenâ€™t real. In my own mind, I wanted to get away. Last year I was overloaded with crap. I was like, what makes me comfortable? I went outside, and I was like, oh my God, why donâ€™t I go hiking more? Why donâ€™t I do this more? All these little things, this is whatâ€™s fun. These are the things that take you away. In this series, a lot of them are real life things, like eating pizza or ice cream.
Q: Your paintings are very realistic. Has it always leaned that direction.
A: When people tell me, â€˜youâ€™ve changed so much!â€™ I think to myself, â€œoh reallyâ€? I used to paint with a lot of strokes. I was very impatient, I wanted to finish things faster. I couldâ€™ve painted more realistic and more polished as well, but I was too impatient.
Q: How did you battle that?
A: I think I was ADD or something. I was always painting way too many things. I had a few meetings with an artist that I really respect and I tried to figure out what I love and what I really want. I started planning out paintings and photo shoots more and not just settling for anything.
Q: Do you always shoot before you paint or do u draw?
A: I always have an idea. Sometimes I sketch it out, sometimes I just keep the idea and go with it, or it can grow as I work on it. I have a few friends who are amazing photographers, and now I sometimes ask them to help me. I shoot myself, but Iâ€™m not a photographer. Sometimes I ask them because I donâ€™t want to risk fucking up lighting. I love working with my friends, I just tell them what I want. Especially when itâ€™s night time and lighting, and Iâ€™m not great with working with colored gels either.
Q: Have you always painted in oil?
A: No, I was doing a lot of acrylics, but I was never completely happy with how it looked. But, near the end I was painting with acrylic and everyone thought it was oil. I painted with acrylic and made it look like oil. I was always dabbling with oil, but finally I just got comfortable, and now itâ€™s just purely oil.
Q: You also create jewelry. How long have you been making jewelry?
A: Five or six years.
Q: Many of the girls in your paintings are wearing your jewelry. Did jewelry making come from painting?
A: No, just from being in school. Everyone was required to take a mixed medium class. I heard about a laser-cutting workshop I signed up. Once I found out you could cut plastic I thought to myself â€œcan I cut stuff to wear?â€ So, I ended up making lots of jewelry and making it for my models to wear. Most of the girls are wearing my jewelry.
Q: Is this the first time youâ€™ve made chandeliers?
A: I have always been kind of tempted, but this is the first time I have designed a chandelier. Iâ€™m happy with them. They are exactly the way I wanted it, clean and clear. I love them.
Q: Which is your favorite painting in this show?
A: I have a few, but some are more meaningful than others. â€œPizza Partyâ€ is special because I love really big paintings and I love lots of stuff. Also, this is my best friend in it. I love that it has lots of meaning within all the objects and I like all the colors.
Q: What are some of the meanings?
A: Well, this is my favorite shoe (red platform on dresser). I wear them everyday. I almost wore them today. This is a note, actually a real note I have. While I was working on the show real late and was like â€˜how am I going to finish?â€™
Q: â€œGetting Butterfliesâ€ is markedly different than your other paintings because the female figure is absent. Why?
A: Well, it came from a feeling. I was getting butterflies. You know, when you have a crush on someone? That was part of the show – a lot of feeling, and the comfort thing. Itâ€™s not a comfort, but I felt like it related. When that happens you donâ€™t think of anything else. Plus I always loved butterflies, the Sailor one and just in general because of the color, the shimmer-ness, and they have a natural glitter. I figured out the composition and I saw within it there are little tiny shapes and movement and color. I love movement. This one was hard on my eyeballs, but it was fun and different. It was a nice getaway from painting figures, but I try to go at it with as much meaning.