Natasha Magariel

OUR EXPERIENCES IN SHOWROOMS GO BEYOND THE VISION AND WORK OF THE DESIGNER. IT'S A PROCESS OF DISCOVERY AND CONNECTING WITH CREATIVES BEHIND THE SCENES. WE FIRST MET NATASHA MAGARIEL AT MNZ SHOWROOM IN NEW YORK WHERE SHE WAS WORKING AS A MODEL. SHE WAS COOL, EASY TO TALK TO, WITH A CURIOUS AND ARTISTIC ENERGY.  AS OUR CONVERSATIONS IN THE SHOWROOM EVOLVED, WE LEARNED THAT NATASHA IS A CLASSICALLY TRAINED PAINTER LIVING AND WORKING IN BROOKLYN. 

VL - DESCRIBE YOUR WORK

MAGARIEL - My paintings are experimental studies, they can be seen as points of intersection where color meets form. For the longest time I defined myself as an abstract landscape painter, but my work is constantly changing and becoming something else. Right now, I paint a lot of basic shapes, like cones, spheres, cubes. And then there is color, and that’s where all the life comes from. 

VL - WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCERS - THEN AND NOW

MAGARIEL - My biggest influencers are William Turner, Giacometti. The Bauhaus movement, German expressionist painters and the movement in general. Oscar KoKoschka , Otto Dix. Then, of course, there’s George Bellows. More recently, Barbara Hepworth, Sandra Blow, Noguchi, and the Italian architect Luigi Moretti.

VL - YOU MENTIONED APPROACHING NEW WORK FROM MEMORY - DO YOU OFTEN WORK FROM MEMORY? WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?

MAGARIEL - My creative process is rather spontaneous. I usually have to be moved by something, whether it is the way two colors overlap while I look out the window, or the urge to paint some shape/forms that I imagine in my head. So I can only create once color and form collide, then I try to translate them on the canvas. In my brain, color and form are like lovers.

When I first started painting over 10 years ago, I never would have dared to paint from memory. I would paint still lifes, or work from a gridded photograph. I painted architecturally influenced landscapes (like buildings from countries I used to live in) or scenes from the flat Midwest where I grew up. As I have evolved, my work has evolved. Right now, I can only paint sailboats, moody seascapes or abstract shapes from memory. I feel too restricted any other way.

 VL - YOU INDICATED TAKING A BREAK FROM YOUR PAINTING.  HOW DID YOU APPROACH YOUR WORK DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU RETURNED TO THE CANVAS?

MAGARIEL - I couldn't paint for awhile. Imagine for years, you came face to face with the one thing you know that makes you happy and you make the choice to walk away. So much of my life, my feelings, my intentions are in my work. Painter’s block taught me i had to be in the right place with myself to create and produce. Today, I don't fear the canvas, I embrace it.

VL - AS A MODEL WORKING IN NEW YORK, YOU HAVE AN UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL LOOK AT NEW COLLECTIONS - DOES THIS INFORM YOUR WORK?

MAGARIEL - Being around colors, shapes, patterns and seeing them in motion must have a subconscious effect on my work - never thought about it though.

 VL - YOU MENTIONED GETTING MORE INVOLVED IN RETAIL PROJECTS, TELL US ABOUT THAT

MAGARIEL -  I’ve always been a very hands on person - I like building things. While I’ve been painting for over ten years, I feel like when I can get into other mediums like window displays, or making scarves, it’s a new way to show my work – a different type of canvas. I've recently finished a collaboration with the Finnish brand, Samuji, who will be releasing a limited run of scarves with my artwork in 2018. 

 VL - TALKING ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL STYLE, WHAT DECADE ARE YOU?

MAGARIEL - The seventies, totally! The jacket I’m wearing right now, everyday, is a navy blue, oversized winged collar, mens jacket. It’s the one jacket I bring to Paris market. 

VL - WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SHOW YOUR WORK?

MAGARIEL - Well, a few things motivated me, really. For one, I was ready. And second, I had accepted the reality of what happens once art goes out into the world. Whatever I create becomes something else once it leaves my hands, (Wait, is that Tolstoy ?) and as a female painter, in a pool mostly dominated by male artists, I wanted my work to be good.

VL - HOW WAS THAT, AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS TO SHOW NEXT?

MAGARIEL - It was a beautiful thing to see people I know, and didn't know come interact and observe my work. Right now I’m focused on a designer scarf project and commission work, and you reminded me that I need to get started on that!

NATASHA MAGARIEL IS A GRADUATE OF THE NEW SCHOOL, WITH A DUAL DEGREE IN FINE ARTS AND ART HISTORY. Visit natashamagariel.com