Illustrator In Residence: Natasha Natarajan – ‘Women That Changed My World’ (Part 2)

Natasha Natarajan is a British-Indian visual artist funding her autobiographical comic strip ‘FML Comics’ and zine habit through Graphic/Web Design, Illustration, Arts Administration, Education and a career that basically makes no sense on a CV. Natasha holds a BA in Indian History and has worked in the arts in Copenhagen and Scotland. She has recently moved home to London where she is whole-heartedly winging it. 

In the second of this new two-part series, Natasha shares some more of the women in music who have changed her world; telling us what they mean to her, and sharing a unique original illustration.

Women That Changed My World

When I love something it generates a lot of energy in me. In the past I’ve unhelpfully unleashed this energy on various people in my life. But drawing has become a wholesome and productive way for me to deal with it; it feels like a labour of love when I draw someone that’s important to me. I started drawing musicians in 2017 – I listen to their music and draw. As much as possible I try to find a photograph of them playing, rather than a press shot, because I think it’s important to me they’re doing what I love them for. I am so inspired and encouraged by the work of other artists. I hope you enjoy these renditions of the women I have loved!

Erykah Badu
We are all living in a cognitive-dissonance reality. We want to live a certain way or do a certain thing, and we don’t because we are emotionally attached to how the group thinks. The hive mentality takes over. But you know what’s right in your mind and your heart, and if you’re strong enough to detach from the hive then sometimes, just sometimes, you may be able to do the right thing.
Speaking in thevulture.com, 2018

Natasha says:
I just love this sound. I love the way it feels in my body. I will forever be thankful that this music exists and that I have been made aware of it. The combination of heavy bass and a soulful female voice makes me weak at the knees. Under the spell of this music I momentarily forget about my problems. All I want is candlelight and a hug from my speakers.

Find out more: Instagram / Spotify

Sara Tavares
“Be sure you love the art more than you love your ego and start working yesterday. Always be humble, speak less and listen more. Please don’t be vain and proud, it slows your evolution.”
– Speaking in meusemba.com. 2018

Natasha says:
Sara Tavares is a strong embrace on a sunny beach. She makes me want to get up and sway side to side in someone’s arms. I love the atmosphere her music creates. I was obsessed with the lyrics of the song ‘Coisas Bunitas‘ – “Say beautiful things to me… Tell me that my curly woollen hair reminds you of a queen’s crown…” They’re delivered in such a sexy way. The melody completely seduces me. It’s as if someone is flirting with me.

Find out more: Instagram / Spotify

 

Amy Winehouse
“I write songs because I’m fucked in the head and need to get something good out of something bad… There were things I couldn’t say to [Blake], but I never thought, ‘This would be a great song. Who’s going to hear this?’ I thought, ‘Fuck, I’m going to die if I don’t write down the way I feel. I’m going to fucking do myself in.’ It’s nothing spectacular.”
– Speaking in www.spin.com, 2007

Natasha says:
I have an Amy Winehouse poster on my bedroom wall – that’s the kind of fan I am. She gives me the confidence to have feelings and be crassly honest about them. I became fully and proudly female under her guidance. Her lyrical honesty and unpolished voice touch me deeply. She will always be my favourite jazz singer. I love the way she talks about music in the song ‘Half Time‘, it reminds me to be viscerally connected to my art form and helps me recognise the great privilege of having music in my life.

Huge thanks to Natasha for her inspiring words and truly beautiful illustrations! If you missed it, you can also check out Part 1 of her ‘Women That Changed My World’ feature here.

 Find out more about Natasha Natarajan at her website and Instagram page (and her comic Instagram page too). 

Illustrator In Residence: Natasha Natarajan – ‘Women That Changed My World’ (Part 1)

Natasha Natarajan is a British-Indian visual artist funding her autobiographical comic strip ‘FML Comics’ and zine habit through Graphic/Web Design, Illustration, Arts Administration, Education and a career that basically makes no sense on a CV. Natasha holds a BA in Indian History and has worked in the arts in Copenhagen and Scotland. She has recently moved home to London where she is whole-heartedly winging it. 

In the first of this new two-part series, Natasha shares some of the women in music who have changed her world; telling us what they mean to her, and sharing a unique original illustration.

Women That Changed My World

When I love something it generates a lot of energy in me. In the past I’ve unhelpfully unleashed this energy on various people in my life. But drawing has become a wholesome and productive way for me to deal with it; it feels like a labour of love when I draw someone that’s important to me. I started drawing musicians in 2017 – I listen to their music and draw. As much as possible I try to find a photograph of them playing, rather than a press shot, because I think it’s important to me they’re doing what I love them for. I am so inspired and encouraged by the work of other artists. I hope you enjoy these renditions of the women I have loved!

AGAMA
“My music brings together people who occupy different spaces and belong to different tribes. It’s such a mash-up of genres. We all have a strong need for belonging, and once you find your tribe it can be so easy to become trapped in an echo chamber of beliefs and experiences that match your own and then everyone who is not like you becomes alien.”

Natasha says:
I love AGAMA’s lyrics. Her words are so insightful and tender. Each track could stand alone as a glorious poem. It’s a blessing that we can listen to her sing the words herself because her voice adds a whole other force of energy. She can whisper to you and roar in the same breath, but always with a rawness that feels human. The four tracks that make up her EP deserve listening front to back loud, on good headphones and alone.

Find out more: Twitter / Spotify

Rokia Traoré
“Having been exposed to Europe from a young age I have never seen it as ‘superior’, I have always just seen it as an equal place to Mali. I had enough context to understand the way in which Africa is depicted to the world. The value of life should not need to be tied to money. In Africa, people may have less money but there is value in finding joy in the everyday. There is a different philosophy, a different way of seeing life in Africa.”
Speaking in brightonfestival.org

Natasha says:
I love the sparse rhythmic beauty of ‘Zen’ and so many of Rokia’s compositions. Each track takes me on a mini journey. Her voice and the instrumentation feel so nude and I’m drawn to her subtle grooves. My heart dances and my shoulders wiggle along. I love nothing more than dancing alone to Rokia on repeat in the kitchen.

Find out more: Instagram / Spotify

Fatoumata Diawara
“We have to keep singing. Women need more motivation. We need to wake up women’s consciences and say, ‘Don’t give up. Continue.’ In Mali, my generation looks at me, at every action I do. I’m like a little example for them, for women. When I’m in Bamako, many girls come to me and say they’re very happy for everything I’m doing. I can tell them what I want through my music.”
Speaking in The Independent, 2013

Natasha says:
Fatoumata’s music has always been a soothing presence in my life. When I discovered that the lyrics were about her experience as a Malian woman, her sound acquired a new melancholic beauty and I found great respect for the powerful way she communicates her message. I can listen to her first album, Fatou, anywhere, anytime and with anyone.

Find out more: Twitter / Spotify

Dobet Gnahoré
“With a sweet melody, the message comes across simply and reaches people more easily, and the emotion remains. With the African languages that I sing, there are not many people who can understand (them all)… But emotion transcends borders, and it remains written inside the listener’s body.”
Speaking in The Chicago Tribune, 2015

Natasha says:
Her song ‘Palea‘ has brought me to happy tears many a time, even though I had no idea what she was talking about. She’s right when she says a sweet melody can carry an emotional message. And she does it so beautifully. She does truly amazing things with her voice filling her tracks with so much energy. She’s also an amazing dancer! I am forever stalking her on Instagram and plundering YouTube for live performances.

Find out more: Instagram / Spotify

Huge thanks to Natasha for her inspiring words and truly beautiful illustrations! Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of her ‘Women That Changed My World’ feature next week.

Find out more about Natasha Natarajan at her website and Instagram page (and her comic Instagram page too). 

Comic Review: The Tenth – ‘I Saw A Ghost’

The second in our new feature of ‘Comic Reviews’ – where illustrator Sally-Anne responds to a new track with her wonderfully unique drawings – we checked out the quirky new video from LA-based bubblegum punk band The Tenth.

Dunes, the debut album from The Tenth, is out now. Watch the new video for ‘I Saw A Ghost’ here:

Sally-Anne Hickman
@sallyshinystars