Hotline... Dial 1 for Natalie Ex
Natalie Ex is the sweetest, but also most badass artist DJ we know... and we love her empowering illustrations so after we went to her most recent exhibition in Wellington, we decided we wanted to know a little bit more and dig a little bit deeper into what makes her do what she does! Natalie is an down to earth gal, easy to get to know...
Does being a DJ influence your illustrative style? Or are they two different worlds?
Definitely, music is an ongoing theme in my illustrations and I also find the two worlds are very similar! When I’m selecting songs to DJ it feels spontaneous and very creative but beat mixing two songs together is all about accuracy and almost mathematical. I take the same approach with my illustrations - hand-drawing is more impromptu and free-spirited but I follow up by working on the lines digitally which is more of a calculated process. I really enjoy working out both sides of the brain.
Wellington misses you, do you think you’ll ever live here again?
Welly was so wonderful when I popped back last month - I wouldn’t rule out moving back one day. I’m pretty settled in Melbourne but do miss the beautiful harbour, green hills and the awesome people of Wellington.
We are curious, what has been your most interesting/romantic/creepy hotel experience, rate it 1-5 stars?
I have a good one, a good creepy one! My boyfriend and I had booked an Airbnb in Tokyo. The owner refused to give us the address so we met him at a KFC (his request). He shows up wearing military clothes and a towel wrapped around his head and walks us to a Kebab store. Turns out the apartment is this tiny hole right above the Kebab joint. The oil fumes from downstairs were so intense we could barely breathe. Towel dude tells us about how corrupt the Japanese government is, how unsafe the nuclear radiation levels in Tokyo are, then disappears. We departed immediately after him and booked a hotel. 1 star.
What’s your daily mantra?
“Every pixel counts” and “More coffee”.
When it comes to matters of the heart, do you find your work reflects this?
If I’m addressing matters of the heart or political beliefs, it’s done subtly. For example, my last series, Iconoclastic, featured many female musicians who defy the pop princess aesthetic because I wanted to celebrate strong female role models.
I avoid feelings and political beliefs influencing my drawings in a major way though. The world seems a bit broken and emotional right now, providing some light-hearted distractions feels helpful. I just wanna make people smile!
Can Xoe and I get one of your girls tattooed on us? We love Gaga!
I would be so flattered! Gaga would be super fun to draw.
If you could collab with one person, dead or alive, who would it be, what would you do?
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon who founded the Opening Ceremony fashion label. They’ve also been Creative Directors for Kenzo since 2011 and successfully updated the brand’s look. Drawing for them would be amazing, whether it be for clothing, accessories or something else. I love their bold and playful yet elegant aesthetic.
Anything else you’d like to share with us? Any secrets?
I’m working on a new series of drawings in my spare time and hoping to exhibit them later in the year. Instagram is where I’m sharing little sneak peaks of the progress so please keep an eye on my page. xo @natalie_ex