We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Ferguson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, why did you pursue a creative career?
To be honest, I don’t think I could exist happily unless I was able to be creative every day either in my personal life or my career. Being an artist is challenging on a mental and often physical level. It keeps me interested and inspired to learn more and be better as an artist and a member of society. It seemed like a no-brainer to pursue a creative career, but I really owe that idea to my mom. I had tried to get into Architecture my first year of University and I didn’t get in, and it was my mom that suggested I take some Fine Arts classes. Seriously though, what parent encourages their child to go into a financially unstable career! Thank you mom! It was the best decision because it has led me down such an interesting path, and really reinforced the idea that I need to create to be happy. I really enjoy collaborating with people, so Community Art has become such an integral part of my life. It has shaped me as a person, and has led to my pursuit of a career in Production Design and Film.
Being able to make things for others to enjoy and wonder about is very fulfilling, and I hope that I am lucky enough to be able to do this for the rest of my life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art practice is pretty varied. I’ve explored a lot of mediums over the years and continue to do so. One thing that is consistent with everything I make is it has to be colorful! I also really enjoy experimenting with materials a lot, and exploring how texture, pattern and color can interact and tell a story. I have a background in printmaking and film photography, but once I made my first installation, I knew I had found my passion. I am obsessed with creating environments for people or creatures to exist in. I love storytelling through imagery, and that is why I pursued my Graduate Degree at California Institute of the Arts in Set Design.
My background in Community Art mixed with my personal art practice and now design practice has allowed me space to explore so many opportunities. I have had my doubts along the way, like any creative does, but I think those doubts and discomfort have made me a better artist and have pushed me to work harder. Working with other artists keeps me motivated and teaches me invaluable lessons. I am much happier when I get to collaborate with other artists.
My practice now includes making short documentaries, puppetry, ceramics, sculpture, costume design, set design and production design.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Some of my favorite spots in LA are for the people watching. Venice is a great place to watch people from all over the world congregate and get as weird as they want. I always spend some time at muscle beach, the roller skating area and the skateboard park. I find all of the variety of interests converge at Venice Beach and it is such a rich viewing experience, also there are a lot of talented people displaying their skills that quite frankly I could never do. There is a great dark bar called Townhouse that I love to have an old fashioned or sour beer after a long day in the sun. They’ve got a great little speakeasy too.
My favorite snack to get while on the beach in Santa Monica is Sunny Blue’s omusubi, which are these fantastic rice balls.
I also really love the bike path along the 5, I start in Burbank and go to the Doger’s Stadium, and there are some great spots along the way in Frogtown like the Frogtown Brewery and the Spoke the bike cafe.
In terms of art, I always love visiting the Hammer Museum, or checking out a play in a small theater somewhere.
My favorite tacos to eat are at Guisado’s near Echo Park, their agua fresca is out of this world. Night+Market is the best and cutest Thai restaurant in the city, and Mohawk Bend is a fantastic restaurant with an extensive beer menu.
If its nature we’re after, I’d take my friends on a hike either at Runyon Canyon or Franklin Canyon, or head out of town to Vasquez Rocks or my favourite place ever, Joshua Tree.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to make a shoutout to my art family at Art City, in Winnipeg, Canada. I would 100% not be where I am today if it weren’t for my life changing time at Art City. Art City is a not-for-profit community art studio dedicated to providing people of all ages with innovative and professional art programming. I began as a volunteer when my dear friend Josh Ruth suggested I come volunteer there. I had just graduated from Fine Arts and was feeling a little lost. I was welcomed with the most comforting and fun open arms I could possibly imagine, and I stayed and grew with the organization over the years, eventually becoming Community Programs Manager, where I worked with people of all ages all across the city and province for many years. I have made lifelong friendships and I am eternally grateful for all that I have learned and gained from the people I worked with.
Art City is the best place on earth and I encourage everyone to check it out, they have a wonderful visiting professional guest artist program, where artists get to teach their skills for a week to the community members.
Cries and Whispers Production (photo of woman standing on table) Dean Tomlinson © Art Gallery of Ontario (photo of table with chandelier)