Natalie Reid

Nathalie was raised in Scotland, studied at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, and is now a visual artist, illustrator and printmaker in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her art practice developed alongside a fascination for folk songs, especially those that tell stories of the sea and of people who live and work by the sea. This led to illustrative work for various contemporary folk musicians, such as The Unthanks.

Today, her social and work lives are deeply immersed within a community of traditional dancers, musicians and singers. Nathalie is currently working on a project exploring the archive of Doc Rowe, a collector and documenter of traditional customs and living traditions. In all of her artistic pursuits, she endeavours to breathe new life into the poetic, powerful storytelling that arises from traditional customs.

"In January, I was invited to join the Modern Fairies work session at Sage Gateshead," she says. "I was instantly struck by the variety of responses to the theme and the collaboration in process. In a roomful of creative minds, curious stories were unearthed – broadening and challenging my childhood interpretation of fairies. Mention of loathly ladies, changelings and shapeshifters began to spark curiosity. I felt excited and, if truth be told, a little apprehensive. There were many layers to the project already in full swing and I began to contemplate where I would fit into this rich fabric of unfolding creativity...."

As she sunk into the project, Nathalie felt powerfully drawn to selkie tales, seeing the selkie as metaphor for the ocean itself: wild, unpredictable and enigmatic. Imagining how a selkie on land must feel, torn between two existences, sparked drawings illustrating the transformative process as the selkie shifts from human to seal form. Torn from the land, yet free. The Green Children also captivated her, with its sense of loss and disconnection; and poems on the Loathly Lady theme inspired artworks in response.

Natalie Reid

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Artist of the Week - Natalie Reid, 1 April 2019