11.1.15

NATALIE ARMSTRONG



DESCRIBE HOW & WHEN YOU ENTERED THE WORLD OF COLLECTING AND SELLING VINTAGE.
Well, I think I've always been into thrifting. It runs in my blood line.  When I was younger I would sew a lot of my own outfits reconstructed from thrifted items. I was kind of self-taught at sewing and using a machine aside from some help from my aunt who is a seamstress who made outfits out of basically, trash for her art shows, like running plastic bags through looms.  
I was drawn to thrifting items just because of the fact that I didn't feel as bad ruining items on occasion since they weren't expensive, not to mention finding crazy awesome vintage fabric prints.                     
I got more heavily into collecting specifically vintage items last year in 2014, the Summer after I opened my Etsy shop. My old roommate and I would hit the Goodwill Bin's frequently. That place is my favorite. You really have to dig through everything but it's worth the time.  

I've always been kind of a weird collector as much as I don't want to be or admit. Collecting things for inspiration in my visual art, whether it's mixed media sculpture or just as a reference for my paintings just happens. If I find a piece of trash with a picture I like on it I'll probably hold onto it for a while and maybe use it or get sick of it and toss it. It's the same type of deal when I'm checking out the section in thrift stores where they have weird creepy statues of angels or funny knick knacks and figurines and like, those bouncing head felted Chihuahuas.   


Honestly one of my favorite things about running my online store is I can buy something out of the ordinary that I only want to wear once but I know that someone else will treasure it later. Once I realized that I could switch up my style without committing to purchasing outfits that I would feel obligated to wear over and over I really got hooked on selling vintage clothing.


NAME THE LIST OF INDIVIDUALS WHO INSPIRE YOU.
Right now....Vali Myers, Zak Smith, Uschi Obermeier and Jean Cocteau mainly. It's always changing.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK AND AESTHETIC.
What comes most naturally to me is visual art. I'm a complete scatterbrain. If you looked at a handful of my artwork it looks like it was done by completely different brains. Part of me wants to work on this and part of me doesn't really care at all. I'm always scribbling on things and making little collages. I'm particularly fond of shapes like the way a bowl of raspberries looks when it's covered in milk.

I've played drums on and off for years and years. I wish I had the patience to delve further into making music but I'm incredibly visual so I try to stick with that. My dad played the drums all the time growing up and I picked up on it from an early age. I'm an abstract painter first and foremost and that's what I feel most excited working on but there's a rhythm from years of messing around with percussion that's present in my art I'm sure. I'm fully capable of working in realism but it's just never appealed to me. I'd rather distort reality. I get hung up on patterns in nature a lot and after thinking about it a while I give it my own spin.

As for my work in fashion, what I really love about running my business is that I get complete control over every aspect of the creative process. I took a lot of time off from working last year and ended up doing a lot of freelance modeling and lived off money from that and my store at times. It feels great to be self sufficient. Things like apparel sales and modeling appeal to me because I feel like I can use my creativity to be a bit more commercial and appeal to an audience, which is the complete opposite of how I am with my art. I like to permeate the barrier between these two different worlds.

So...Aesthetic. I can hardly stand to hear the word "aesthetic" anymore because after 2014 it's been such a bastardized word that, for me, brings to mind this really overdone Tumblr-chic grid-print, palm leaves, bottled water, marble print. "Aesthetic" is such a catch-all now for basically describing anything at all and has drifted so far from being related to art in my opinion. But hey, that's how language goes I suppose. My aesthetic in art is really about nature even though it's not apparent. It's about optical illusion and the things you see like when you rub your eyes until you see stars and colors in the dark of your eyelids. It's erotic and evil and beautiful and I create repetition to induce a trance for myself when I look at it. I try to be more than a psychedelic scribbler.

My fashion aesthetic has always had an underlying Kat Bjelland grungey "Kinderwhore" (I'm not surprised this term never caught on but that's another storyt) meets futuristic space-witch vibe. I love lace. I love slips. I like black, as boring as it is. I like insane psychedelic prints. I have to stop myself from buying Paisley prints because I know I'll never wear them. I'm obsessed with fur, lightwash denim, anything resembling a cape, and huge shoes. This past year I've been particularly in love with Kay Kwok's collections as well as Manish Arora.

SHARE YOUR BIGGEST TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS WITH US AND ADVICE.
My biggest issue is that I have a barely functioning laptop, I don't drive a car, and I don't own a camera (yet) aside from my Iphone camera. I'm the kind of person who would rather use Microsoft Paint to do a project than to take the time to learn Photoshop. I don't mind taking my time with things and I'm also kind of stubborn. As much as I know having a car would be beneficial to my business, I think it's bad for the environment and it's better for my health to bike everywhere. Who knows? Maybe I'll get one someday.

WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS FOR YOUR FUTURE?
I don't like to think about the future much. I just want to keep playing with clothing and making art really. If someone likes what I do and I start making money from it then awesome.

DESCRIBE YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS IN YOUR ART.
I kind of addressed this earlier so I'll keep it kinda short. One of my roommates asked me a while back, "How do you come up with ideas?" I told her I don't come up with ideas and that's the truth 75% of the time. I sit down and I just start working. I like to meditate. Art is meditative to me. It's automatic. Sometimes I just get really drunk and start painting. I took a lot of inspiration from the Surrealist's when I was younger, aside from the misogyny of that particular movement. Automatic writing and automatic poetry are very dear to me. I like automatic painting. All of this isn't to say I don't come up with concepts. Usually I'll think of a phrase I like and I'll meditate on it over the course of a few days to a few weeks and then I execute it when it's the right time. When I'm drawing or painting, nothing is going through my head and that's what I love about it because time ceases to exist. There's nothing to worry about and everything is just fine.



DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE PIECE, ART OR ARTICLE OF CLOTHING.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this question exactly but I'll try. My favorite piece of mine that I've ever done is a black and white ink drawing called "The Doors of Perception Through Heaven and Hell". It's cliche' as all hell but the title is a combination of Alduous Huxley's essays "The Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell" which were about his use of psychedelic drugs. I was also dropping a lot of acid during the time I made this drawing which is also cliche' as hell. It's all twisty, slightly geometric, and seems completely multidimensional. People think it took a long time but it really didn't. I remember working on it at a coffee shop and people would ask how long it took which was really funny to me.

SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH LETTING GO OF THOSE HARD TO LET GO PIECES.
I rarely regret letting go of pieces. I buy too much clothing as it is. One thing I really really can't believe I sold last Winter was this awesome knit black princess coat cardigan that had a big fur collar and these huge furry sleeves. It was sooooo warm and cozy. The girl I sold it to really loved it though.

ANY OTHER SPECIAL TALENTS?
Hmmmm....Special talent. I'm a tarot card reader. I've been reading since I was 14 or so.

THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE GHOST ARCANA VINTAGE.
Vintage, Eclectic, and Versatile. 



VIDEOGRAPHY BY MIKE RAFTER. MODEL RACHEL SMITH IN GHOST ARCANA VINTAGE. STYLED BY ALLISON MARIE CULLEN. ART BY NATALIE ARMSTRONG AS FOLLOWS: FIFTH, PORTRAIT OF AN ABDUCTION WITH STARGAZER LILY, PORTRAIT OF A LANDSCAPE, THE LIGHT IS DARK, EYEFULL AWFUL & THE DOORS OD PERCEPTION THROUGH HEAVEN AND HELL. GHOST ARCANA VINTAGE & INSTAGRAM.

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