[In this series, we interview hosts for Slow Art Day and get their thoughts on hosting, the art of looking, and the slow art community. Today we interview Natalie Iturbe, who is hosting a Slow Art Day event at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles.]
Slow Art Day: Tell us about yourself and your passion, Natalie.
Natalie: My passion is art! I am a visual artist and somewhat of a curator. I express my passion through my job and through my artwork. At my job I bring in various local vendors to sell in our weekly community market. It is a particular selection process, and I aim to keep a good balance of original artwork, vintage and antique items, fun collectibles and fashion-related items. Through my art I am able to release my inner thought processes and energies onto a canvas or a piece of paper. It is absolutely necessary for me to create art in order to maintain a balanced and happy life.
Slow Art Day: And what is Melrose Trading Post?
Natalie: The Melrose Trading Post is the weekly nonprofit community market I manage every Sunday. We are located in the heart of Los Angeles at Fairfax and Melrose Avenues in the parking lot of Fairfax High School. We are sandwiched between two of LA’s artistic communities, Fairfax Village and the Street Art District. The vendors that come in range from local artists, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, collectors, antique buffs, historians and more. The money raised through our $2 admission fee and the vendor booth rentals benefit programs for Fairfax High School students. These programs include club fulfillment requests, Greenway Arts Education Programs, teacher supply requests, school beautification projects and more.
Slow Art Day: You have hosted Slow Art Day before. How’d you first hear about it?
Natalie: I saw an article about it online last year. I volunteer at the county museum (LACMA) and I noticed that many people only look at individual pieces of art for a few seconds. The artist may have taken years to create the piece, but it only gets a few seconds of a patron’s time. By bringing Slow Art Day to the Melrose Trading Post, I saw it as a way to slow Angelenos’ hasty life pace down long enough to look at the local artists’ work that we feature.
Slow Art Day: At your Slow Art Day – the artists are there to interact directly with the public, yes?
Natalie: Yes – the Melrose Trading Post is a very interactive experience. We have over 240 artists and vendors who you can talk to, haggle with, and pick their minds about their various topics of expertise. Our Slow Art Day is unique because you can actually speak with the artist. You can ask them questions, make a direct purchase and follow their creative journey. We like Slow Art Day here because it is yet another way to bring patrons and local artists together to engage and inspire each other.
Slow Art Day: What is one of your favorite art works?
Natalie: I love the work of Remedios Varo. Her paintings are so mystical and haunting. I also love Henri Matisse’s artwork, especially his more colorful pieces before World War 1.
[Make sure to check out Natalie’s Slow Art Day event at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles, California.]