Natasha Day: Creativity in a Time of Crisis
Unable to access the workshop to weld metal for sculptural objects that I had been making prior to lockdown, I have turned towards the comfort of yarn and crochet in the form of pots. This instinctive reaction to needing to produce something solid, beautiful and quick has led to ideas for an outdoor sculpture that is growing by the day. This gives me a goal and a challenge to manipulate yarn.
There is certainly a role for artists in this pandemic. I have witnessed some wonderful community spirited driven ideas encompassing sharing, and the collective giving of time and skills among my artist friends and even further afield. At this time, it seems what the public needs now is that level of positivity and hope that art-making and being involved with creativity can give all of us in times of chaos and upheaval. It is very grounding and necessary but I think as time goes on we will witness an outpouring of emotion in all art forms which will assist the human need to experience fully, and from there, to be able to process some extremely difficult emotions that currently we are not ready for.
Art has always been a conduit to enable deeper emotions to be explored and dealt with. This will be our main role - as observers, story tellers, bearers of personal truths and healers. One of my roles as an artist is using art for mental well-being. There will be a huge need for people to make sense of this time using art as a language where words fail. For me this will be where I hope to link my creativity, as an empowering life affirming source.
How will it affect artists, the art world and how people interact with art? This will be our challenge for the foreseeable future. It especially interests me as I am led by materials and touch as part of both the creative process and end outcome my work. Therefore, this aspect of “physicality” will have to be re-invented by some other means to evoke the sensations of close contact with material for the observing public.
Natasha Day is a mixed media artist in the UK. She is inspired by material that is textural, flexible and unpredictable in its makeup, meaning that she can manipulate it for alternative outcomes. She currently works with metal, yarn and glass. She likes to see what substances can do, a meeting of the physical and my imagination. Put simply, she refers to herself as a “material maverick”, and is intent on a compositional outcome that has visual and tactile interest in an organic way. As a painter using acrylics, she began to use excessive mixed media within the paintings until she reached a stage where she felt restricted by canvas and began looking towards making 3D sculpture. This coincided with her study for BA in Fine Art, and the access to the workshops providing her with more potential material to experiment. She became fascinated with metal welding. Natasha leads community art workshops where she encourages the making of art as material experimentation and composition, with paint and mixed media, to achieve an outcome that is satisfying, and that lead to curiosity and further experimentation, regardless of one’s artistic level. She also runs workshops focused on mental well-being, building on her former career as a mental health nurse.