Meet the Artist: Natalie Fine Shapiro

Photo: Courtesy of Natalie Fine Shapiro

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised in Minneapolis Mn, in the U.S. and I currently live there with my boyfriend, DJ and our dog, Squints.

When I was a little girl, I was drawing a picture and someone asked me, “Are you going to be an artist when you grow up?” I replied, “I AM an artist!”

My talents have always been creative ones. My Mom got me started early with art classes and never said no to art supplies. Art, theater, and singing became my passions. I studied voice in high school and college and went on to perform in various bands and released several albums. When I got off stage, as an introvert and home body, visual art was a great hobby for me. I went through phases, trying out many mediums – figure drawing, jewelry making, henna body art, decorative painting, hand lettering, and in 2018, I began playing with watercolor.

What inspired you to become an artist?

Just this past summer, I decided to pursue art as a career and began my business. I faced a lot of loss over the past year and half. Most importantly, my Grandfather and my Dad passed away. With my world turned upside down, the thought of trying to make it as an artist didn’t seem so scary or far fetched. My boyfriend gave me the extra push of encouragement to get started and my Mom gave me my Dad’s new laptop for my business.

What is your speciality?

I create watercolor paintings, primarily using liquid watercolor. Liquid watercolor is more concentrated than watercolor pans, so they are extremely vibrant and they blend effortlessly. I also love metallic watercolor, and in my most recent series, “Hamsas”, I embellished some of my paintings with gold leaf.

How and where do you work?

I have a home studio/office which I just finished setting up after some remodelling in our basement. It’s a vast improvement to the living room couch which was my workspace for the past 5 months! I like to have a movie or music on while I’m painting, no interruptions, and comfy messy clothes. I follow my intuition with composition and choose colors that I feel emotionally connected to.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

This answer is cheating because it’s more than one thing, BUT, I have a pegboard wall that houses many of my supplies right next to my desk. I keep my watercolor paints on it, all my markers are in buckets hanging on it, my tape and scissors, and my framed sign that says “Throw Some Glitter On It”. I love how easy it is to access everything without getting up!

Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?

I’m inspired by color, by patterns from Mexico, Israel, and India, and by the moon, which connects me with my Dad. Some of my subject matter is inspired by my Jewish heritage and connection to Israel. Pomegranates are a specialty of mine. I recently finished a series of Hamsa paintings.

Do you do bespoke work?

Yes. I do commissions!

What projects are you currently working on?

I just completed a sample Ketubah which I’m very excited about! I’m hoping to connect with some Jewish couples that like Hamsas and pomegranates.

I’m also planning to start a Patreon, where subscribers will receive exclusive content, like painting videos, behind the scenes tours, and other goodies.

What is or are your favourite items in your current collection?

A piece called “Hamsa: Truth”. It’s a fuchsia/purple/blue downward facing Hamsa embellished with Mehndi (henna design) in gold leaf.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

I usually just have a feeling that it’s done. There has to be a sense of balance to the composition and sometimes it means adding a few more leaves or details at the last moment. I follow my intuition. I definitely also know when I’ve overworked a painting. It doesn’t feel like it can breathe anymore.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

I think my first real sale was to a friend who is an Art Therapist. She bought a blue and purple leafy watercolor and wanted to be my first Etsy sale, to help me figure out the selling process. Supportive friends are the best.

Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?

I designed some stickers and bookmarks for my Etsy store and for art fairs and I love them so much! The stickers are glittery unicorns, hearts and pineapples. The bookmarks are colorful landscapes and have handmade tassels. All of them are nice options for art lovers on a budget.

What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?

When I paint, I’m creating my own magical watercolor world where I can bathe in soothing velvety hues, wrap myself in metallic patterns and curl up in comforting ethereal atmospheres. I want my viewers to feel welcomed into that world and to feel a heart connection to my work.

I have so many ideas for the future! I would love to get into pattern design and art licensing. I could see myself learning Hebrew calligraphy. I’m hoping to have a whole line of Ketubot someday. My dream is to build my business into a sustainable enterprise that allows me to continue playing and learning!

Where can we find your work?


Photos: Courtesy of Natalie Fine Shapiro

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