Afro-Art by Natali
The Creative design coordinator for Brawta Living Inc and painting instructor for Art Splash Ja, Natali Daley, believes that following your passion is the only way to live a fulfilling life. Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, this petite and vibrant young woman with a thousand-watt smile studied visual and communication at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She specialised in illustration but currently focuses on graphic design.
For Daley, being creative is a way for her to completely let go and express herself. She is heavily influenced by African art and its history. "My art is a way for me to depict the African culture which I am very passionate about,"said Daley.
Daley knew she had a fascination with the arts from as early as grade three. "My mother wouldn't be able to throw away anything in the house. I would be making dolls from the toilet rolls. I was always creative," said Daley.
GETTING INTO THE GROOVE
Every artist has a particular routine that allows them to get into the groove and get their creative juices flowing. For Daley, she chooses to listen to music based on the theme she is going with. "If it is an abstract painting, I will listen to classical music because it helps me to produce smoother brush-strokes and gives it a more whimsical look. If I need something to be more vibrant, then I will listen to Afrobeats. It helps me to compose some of the colours and patterns."
Daley has been working on an African women series, which is her most favourite body of work thus far. "I love being able to highlight the beauty of African women, their culture and their styles into my pieces. My journey with creating these pieces has made me more appreciative of my culture," said Daley. While attending Edna Manley, she was encouraged by one of her lecturers to do African art. African art was one of the hardest courses offered within her programme and she was eager to accept the challenge. "It was very engaging as we were exposed to different aspects of African culture. Growing up, majority of us were taught about colonialism. The culture at Edna is very African base. It is an art school which tries to encourage you to embrace our blackness," said Daley. Before she started the visual art school, her hair was processed and now she has a crown locs.
There were many challenges associated with becoming an artist. Initially, her parents were not supportive of her career choice. "They thought art would be a hobby and that I would grow out of it, and wanted me to do architecture," explained Daley. "I tried, but it was a fight. I had to pursue my passion." It was only after starting Edna Manley that her parents warmed to the idea. "They saw that I was working extra hard because it was something that I loved," said Daley.
Daley creates her pieces with acrylic paint and micron pens. However, she would love to begin oil paintings in the near future. Her appreciation created a need to share her knowledge and techniques to persons with no prior training. This led her to Art Splash Ja. "I was searching for jobs on Facebook and I saw an ad that was weeks old. I thought they would have an artist by now but it did not hurt to try. The next day Victoria, who started Art Splash, contacted me. She introduced me to the concept and put me through a test run. It was something that felt natural for me," said Daley. She is pleased to see someone else share the joy she has for art and getting lost in the flow of things.
Her advice to persons who would like to pursue a career in art is to never give up because it will be hard. "I applied to many jobs and just couldn't get through. In the downtimes when I couldn't get a job I just kept painting. It is during that time that I was able to build my portfolio. When I got jobs that was outside of art I was miserable," said Daley.
Art is not a dead-end job and there are several avenues which will allow you to pursue your passion. Never give up on what you want.