Amelia’s Magazine | Natasha Muhl’s fearsome and fantastical drawings

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Australian artist Natasha Muhl’s cleanly executed but quietly sinister images caught my eye as soon as they dropped into my inbox. With a slightly folky edge, information pills probably because of the mainly animal subject matter, help who become supernatural characters, information pills like the king bird in his crown, coughing up gemstones instead of food for chicks.

Amelia’s Magazine spoke to Natasha about her process, her views of her images and what the future holds for her and her curious cast of fauna.

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Tell me a little about the stories behind your images. They seem quite narrative – I can imagine the world surrounding these quirky characters.

I know there’s a story in there somewhere, but I’m not sure what it is yet. These little characters like to pop up in my sketch book doing various tasks in their world. Sometimes they’re there all the time and other times they just disappear.
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How do you create your work? Tell me a bit about the process you go through from original idea to finished product. Do you work organically and spontaneously or does it involve a lot of research?

This series was fairly spontaneous, they popped out of my fingers in a matter of days. I drew the horses one afternoon, and the rest just followed freely. My full coloured illustrations generally have a longer process. There’s a lot of research into composition. That gets followed by a few colour roughs before I spend a few hours colouring the work neatly.

Do you work in a solitary way or do you enjoy collaborating? Are you secretive about your work or do you invite commentary from an early stage?

I love to collaborate, but the opportunity seems to rarely come by. At the moment I’m working on some little bits and pieces with another illustrator friend where I do the traditional work and he follows up digitally. I guess I’m sort of secretive, but not on purpose. My graduating year just had an exhibition where I showed a few pieces, and half of the year didn’t even know I liked to draw. I’m always open to criticism though.

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What kind of objects, people or things do you love to draw? What is it about certain things that really grabs you?

I love to draw animals and ugly women. I’ve always loved animals and started drawing when I started horse riding. The ugly women are slightly more difficult to explain. I think primarily because it’s entertaining to draw all their saggy bits and put things where people traditionally wouldn’t want them. Sometimes I give them beautiful faces and ugly bodies, or vice versa, I always enjoy that juxtaposition. My more recent obsessions include little birds and jewels.

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Where do you hope to go next with your work? Any dream collaborations/venues/media?

It’s always an ideal world where I’d be able to illustrate for a living, but I’m not getting my hopes up. At the moment I’m just interested in personal improvement and maybe doing some shows.

Categories ,illustration, ,Natasha Muhl

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