Monday, January 17, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Natalie Neumann

Last week we had the incomparable Steph Jordan in the Spotlight which brought more traffic to this blog than any one thing that I've ever shared with the art world and for that I must say a sincere, Thank you Stephanie for blessing us with your vision, vitality and verve! You really got the energy moving around here.

This week we have another charming woman. One who will surprise you with a combination of depth, talent and childlike love for playing. This woman has created a wonder-filled network where people feel safe to let down their guard, where they are experimenting with new art techniques, fashion concepts and a deeper understanding of self expression.

This young woman is a truly “old soul” as the expression goes and she's not afraid to touch life. If you don't already know her, it is my proud pleasure to introduce my friend, Natalie Neumann of Vienna Austria.

1) Natalie~ When you think about your first inkling of being an artist is there a story that comes to mind? 
Oh, that is a tough question. Because I was always creative in some kind of way. There was no time in my life when I was not drawing, crafting or painting. Go ask my mother, she can tell you all sorts of stories about painted floors or walls (sometimes not even in our own house) and other "embellished" things. I think my first "drawing" leads back to the time where I was 6 months old. 

Later, when I was about 5 years old, I totally was in love with MY LITTLE PONY (well, I was born in the 80´s and I still love them today, ha!), but of course I could not have every single one of them. So I drew them, cut them out (they had 2 sides like a papercraft and could stand) and made them a paddock with some fresh grass and flowers. Everything was done with layered techniques, watercolor, pencils, glitter and glue and all that looooooooooooong before I came to know the term "mixed media".
It seems like this is what we all have been waiting for and I am happy to live today, where we have internet and more art supplies to be creative.

2) How or where do you work best and when? Any stories connected with how that works for you?

Considering how different my schedule can look like, I think it depends. I can either be an early bird, get up at 5 and work til I fall asleep. Or I stay up late, until 3 or 4 am and sleep til noon. For me I´d rather go for the early bird, because I love having done a lot of things til lunch. It gives me the feeling of control. But when passion grows over reason, I simply can´t just stop working. I have to go on until things look the way I want them too. (erm, don´t ask me how often that happens, it seems like I have no sense for sleeping schedules at all).

My boyfriend has kind of a hard life with me. Imagine a completely excited girl jumping around on your bed, waving some piece of drawing and asking "What do you think?....Oh sorry, were you tired?"

Since our apartment is rather small, I work everywhere except for the bathroom (wait, now you got me thinking, I guess there is some unused potential to that place....).

3) Will you share with our readers about how you get the juices flowing, where you draw your daily inspirations from and or overcoming the inner critic?

I love technology and I am so happy to be alive RIGHT NOW, because the internet is really the best when it comes down to getting inspired.
Nothing is better than getting up and having a random look at or etsy or deviantart. But I don´t like to spend too much time looking at pictures, because you end up wasting time on the internet without being creative yourself. I kind of have that inner drive that pushes me to do things.
It is rather that my juices are flowing all the time and I have to get some of it out quickly or the idea might be lost. (Moleskines and writing down things are a BIG thing!)

4) Are there any artful challenges that you overcame that inspired you to move in a new direction?
I don´t think that I need challenges to move to a new direction. Some things came up for me as I worked as a graphic designer, like porcelain design or animation.

But it´s not like I part with these things when I move on to something else (like last year it was fabric and sewing). I love to learn and combine things.

Maybe it is the way I was brought up, my mother was always an influence, she had various interests and it just became natural to me to adopt that kind of behaviour. She was a graphic designer with her own agency and now she is a farmer working with organic roses and herbs, making awesome products like facial cream and lip balm. Staying curious is one of the blessings in my life.

5) How do you market yourself? Do you have a marketing or press package? If you have an "elevator spiel" or "cocktail party" response to "So, what do you do?" that inspires people to want to know more, will you share it with our readers?
I don´t really market myself. I like to meet new people and once they ask me about my life so far, it surely never is a short response that I can give them.
Because it was never just "the one thing" that I did. I started studying journalism, but quickly moved on to graphic design. I have amongst others been a theater director and a puppeteer, a porcelain designer, a crafts teacher and I have moved around quite a lot. 

So it is never the same story that I tell until I come to the point where the Vanillery Garden came into being. It has been a huge development. If I want to keep it short, it might be "I teach people to be themselves and to go back to their roots through art. Online." (and you have to know that in Europe teaching arts online is quite a new thing. So I always get many "ooohs" and "aaahs"). Since the Vanillery Garden is quite a new place in the online art scene, I guess I haven´t developed my elevator pitch so far :D
Gotta work on that. Or simply go up and down the floors a couple of times. 

6) What's up for you in 2011 - anything you'd like to share?
2011 will be a lot of hard work, but also loads of fun ahead. I will finish the masterclass in graphic design in summer, (so I have to get my diploma done *sweat*), work hard to make everyone feel comfortable in the Vanillery Garden, get new classes out (like the next one will be about unicorns!), we will probably be kitten parents in April and much much more.

Next step is creating some calendar wallpapers for everyone to download on my blog.

I think that I have never been as happy in my life as I am now and it has to do with trying to be happy although not everything is perfect.

Oh, and by the way: The world will not come to an end in 2012. The change has already happened and we have to work on to make things even better.
So don´t live 2011 like it is your LAST year, but like it is your BEST!


Natalie sculpts, sews, paints, draws, does amazing graphics work, and creates digital animations. She has been a theater director, puppeteer and crafts teacher... just WAIT until you see some of the things she makes... her etsy store goes online later this Winter. She makes us giggle with her facial expressions and you want to jump for joy when she does. 

Natalie can be found living and playing:
Etsy shop is to come in march, but I´ll let you know as soon as it is there. You can be sure you'll be hearing a lot more from this artist! 

She is a woman who says this of herself: "I teach people to be themselves and to go back to their roots through art. Online."

To inquire about being in the Spotlight yourself email me:

Now, Go GET your CRAFT ON!!!


  1. Thank you sooo much Julee for your wonderful post!
    Thanks for making me look good :)

  2. girl you make yourself look good...

    i don't make the news, i just report it :)

  3. Natalie, very beautiful and such an inspiration. Our eyes are on you! :-))

    Thanks Julee! Hugs and love.

  4. Natalie is like a ray of sunshine on a dark, cloudy day..And I am honored to call her friend..xoxo

  5. great interview Natalie!
    We loooove you and Vanillery Garden. Magical.

  6. Wonderful interview of our lovely Natalie!! xoxo

  7. Just when I think I'm out in the pasture all by myself (well, usually....) here comes Natalie with her Genius House!!! I've been making tiny shrine houses because I like the idea of little portable shrines... and now Genius Houses!!! Same thing? Maaaaaaybeeeee!!!
    Wonderful article and wonderful woman!!! Thanks Jules!!! You just made my day!!!

  8. Julee - thank you for that great interview!

    xoxo, Michaela Q.F.Mum


Oooooh BLoGgEE love!