We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalia da Silva and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I feel like risks are something that all artists have to be willing to take in order to be successful. Sometimes people won’t like what you create one day, but idolize it the next. Sometimes an artist is selected to be a vendor at an event, and they may not break even with their sales. I personally have experienced that risk , but most importantly, I’ve learned how to be vulnerable with expressing my feelings into my art. As someone who is an advocate and familiar with mental illness, I use to be very ashamed of how my mind worked, so putting my thoughts on a piece of paper was absolutely horrific to me! However, I believe that over the past 21 years of my life, society’s thoughts on mental illness have improved. When I was in middle school, depression , anxiety…whatever it may be, was unheard of. And yes, middle school was a time of adolescence so parents, teachers, and even the individual struggling may use that as an excuse. But because of that “easy way out” the issue may never be addressed. I was not diagnosed until 3-4 years ago, and I believe it should NOT take that long. So, with all due respect to those who think “you’re overreacting” ….please stop. Our feelings are valid, our relationships and trauma are valid, so please allow our art to be valid too.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art name on every platform is “ready2gogh”; partially because Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite artist, so I thought it would be a fun play on words. But secondly because I am truly READY TO GO. I want to try new things, I want to be involved in the community, I want to keep exploring. So whatever time , place, or situation, I’m ready to pursue it. My work is mostly known for the “distinct style” that I use. Customers and friends always tell me that it’s my “trademark” of sorts. I over saturate colors on the page, put a few extra lines and dashes where there wouldn’t normally be any. Additionally, I have allowed myself to try different types of art. I use to draw silly little comics when I was in middle school, but since then, I’ve stretched out to produce botanical prints, tattoo designs, cartoons, portraits, etc. It wasn’t easy to get where I am today. I certainly received a lot of “art isn’t a career” comments, as well as other absurd things. Mostly the whole “starving artist “ conversation. What people don’t realize is that WE KNOW THAT. We are 100% aware that we can’t live off of selling our pieces alone. It is truly common sense, and if you happen to survive off of selling your art alone, I admire you. But I am not in a place where I can do that, and it’s ok if you aren’t either I think I really started to see that my art could go somewhere when I did a show at Museo De Las Americas here in Denver. The show was specifically towards drawing attention to mixed race artists. It was a very scary experience, and I honestly didn’t think it would branch out into anything more. But the many people who supported my small business that night still buy art from me today. I am friends with other artists, and we have talked about collaborating as soon as this damned pandemic is over. Since then, I’ve been a vendor at multiple shows, started my own Etsy page, met new people, and most importantly , received experiences like this one. Additionally, I am proud to announce I will be working with Meow Wolf the next few months! This is all the information I can offer about this project right now, but stay tuned….exciting things are coming! Lastly, the most important lesson I’ve learned through my journey is there are lots of people who will try to shut you down. I’ve received lots of backlash on my Instagram page, a lot of rude comments from those passing by my booth at shows and much more. There are people who simply just will not like your stuff. And that’s ok. It was hurtful at first, but it has helped me grow into a more confident person. And frankly, I don’t care about those people any more.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Firstly, I would take them down the Santa Fe Art District. It’s so colorful and interesting and I don’t think a lot of people realize that there are businesses in this creative strip. Each building has been renovated into an art studio, a museum, an antique store, and much more. The owners of each small business are always so kind and charming, and I always find myself going back to that area. Secondly, I would recommend a few different spots for food because there are a few holes in the wall that are absolutely amazing. But overall, I love Torchy’s Taco’s , Cheba Hut, and North Itália. There are a few malls here that I occasionally go to, but I like to spend my time searching for plants and other natural things. RitualCravt is one of my favorites, as well as the Terrarium Shop (both located in the Wheatridge area. I also just like spending quality time with my friends at home, watching movies, cooking together, playing games, and just being present with those who are in the room. Since the pandemic began, I didn’t realize how much I would cherish those moments until they were gone.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Alrighty, I have a few shoutouts to give. My first one will be to my mother, Christina, and my little sister, Raquel. You both have always encouraged my art and helped me find my passion. Thank you for allowing that freedom, thank you for being there, and I believe our love for each other is much stronger than it was a few years ago. I love growing with you. My second shout out is for my boyfriend, Amanuel, and my best friend in the whole world, Autumn. Thank you both for always telling me to keep going, for being involved in every art show, and for sticking around through the hard stuff. I am so truly lucky to have you in my life. Amanuel, I love you, and Autumn, (also a wonderful artist, fallflowerart on Instagram) thank you for pushing me and always being honest. I love you. My last shout out is to everyone who has witnessed my embarrassing drawings, grow into something powerful. For those who critiqued my work, provided reference letters, and just looked out for me; thank you so very much. I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for you.
Other: My Etsy shop is also ready2gogh, but you can find all the information on my Link Tree. 🙂