Capturing the Body
Natasha is a visual and hyperrealist artist whose drawings explore the diversity of the female body and today's beauty standards. Her work focusses on marginalised groups that are largely underrepresented, particularly black women.
“It’s about taking the sexualisation out of it, and just having yourself represented in the way that you see yourself, that’s a big one.”
How did you initially get into Hyperrealism and what do you like about the style?
What really got me into hyperrealism was Kelvin Okafur, a hyperrealist artist. I was at school doing my A levels and he was one of the artists that I chose to study for a project. I fell in love with hyperrealism from that moment, I just really liked the way that he broke his process down, it was so much easier to digest than just looking at a painting. It [hyperrealism] really pushes you, because I’m such a perfectionist hyperrealism goes hand in hand with that. I'm a big fan of realism in general.
Challenge the Conventions
What would you say is your favourite series that you have produced so far?
My favourite series that I’ve produced so far is definitely my series on the female body. The series began in 2020 when I drew my piece Challenge the Conventions. I had such a big reaction to it, that it made me want to do a whole project based around the female body. That series is actually a part of three, but in that series, there were also workshops. I was able to develop two workshops where different women came, and they drew their own bodies. From the body positive drawing I was able to go into so many more pockets.
Different women have messaged me, even up until today. For many of them, they had never seen themselves represented that way in art, that’s so moving for me. I never expected anything to really come from it. They feel seen, and finally represented.
Your work focusses on body positivity and societal impressions of beauty, what message do hope to convey through your art?
I want people to feel empowered and confident in themselves. When people see my art, I want them to feel connected to it. I look at scars and stretch marks, and they're not something that you even see in the media, but I want people to see that and think that it’s normal. It’s taken me almost 27 years to realise that it’s normal. I don’t want any young women to go through that period of turmoil where you’re like ‘these bodies are not like mine, their skin colour is not like mine; I want to see people that look like me.’ It would save a lot of mental anguish.
"I want to champion different bodies."
All of your pieces are created using graphite pencil, but any surplus materials or colour alterations are determined by the subject of each piece. How do you decide what changes will be made?
I think it just comes down to colour experiments. I used to draw exclusively with graphite pencil, but then I got bored of that. I decided that I wanted to start incorporating colour into my work. I’m not the strongest painter, but I at least wanted to start experimenting with colouring pencils. I’m now working on my first full colour piece.
If you could draw anybody or experiment with any kind of art, what would you do?
I would want to sculpt like Michael Angelo. To put work like that into stone is just something else.
Who is your favourite artist and why?
There are so many artists who I really admire: Johnson Eziefula, he’s one of my favourite artists at the moment, also an artist called William- Adolphe Bouguereau. My ultimate is Lee Jeffries, he photographs in black and white, but his work is so detailed that it almost looks like a drawing.
What makes you smile?
Where do you see your artistic journey taking you in the next 5 years?
I definitely want to have my own network for black women, and I want to have my work in a gallery.
Keep up with Natasha on Instagram @npariss .