We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Sun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I was speaking to the artist Laurie Sumiye recently, and she said it really well: “I believe everyone can be an artist…but for some, there’s a different sense of urgency.” When people ask me why I pursued a creative career, they treat it as if it was a choice. But for me, I couldn’t pull myself away from it. I was preparing to be a lawyer in college, actually, thinking that being a creative for a living wasn’t possible….but I was naturally always a creative person living in my own little weird world, and I guess no other options would have been viable.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My professional work focuses on creating a stage for people to see technology in a creative way. Whether it’s curating a show or consulting for companies, I design experiences that allow people who might not call themselves “technologists” to understand how tech can be used as an artistic medium. Both my personal and professional work focuses on using digital performance as a way to experience ‘being vulnerable’; to create a human connection through a screen. I want to dispel the myth that technology “disconnects” us from each other. New technology changes culture, and people will use it as a way to connect in ways that they couldn’t before. But we’re constantly inundated with carefully curated instagram feeds of people leading impossible lives. If we can share a moment of vulnerability, then we have find the things that connect us and make us most human. Nothing worth doing is easy, but you’ll do it if it’s necessary. If there’s an artistic urgency that pushes you to create, perhaps. I’ve had a fairly successful professional life, but most of it was spent pleasing clients and making things that didn’t speak to me. Of course, I don’t regret any of it — it taught me how to speak to clients and sell ideas through or how to produce impossible things from scratch, and now I get to apply it to work of my own. Now I’m taking a step back from the professional aspect and coming back to what drives me to make work, and that’s been far more fulfilling.
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?
Assuming COVID isn’t a thing anymore….depends on who they are; my itinerary would change depending on what they gravitate towards. I’m a big fan of LACMA — it has a large enough collection that there’s always something that fits everyone’s taste…and if not, you can always chill outside with a nice cup of coffee. Maybe hop on over to Hauser & Wirth, and then the Underground Museum The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a can’t-miss. It’s incredibly hard to explain and that’s what makes it so special. People watching and window shopping on Melrose is always fun. Always land at Wasteland — it’ll make you feel better after passing all the shops you can’t get yourself to spend an entire paycheck on. (Plus resale is always better for the environment) We’d probably spend a Saturday at Tierra de la Culebra in Highland Park for Leaving Records’ ‘Listen to music outside in the daylight under a tree’. Can’t beat live music and chill vibes. And dogs. So many dogs. LA’s food scene is to good; there are too many choices. Republique, Night + Market (if you can take the heat), Pine + Crane, FOOD Cafe (best pancakes don’t fight me on this), A.O.C, Alibi Room, YuChun (for korean cold noodles), Industriel for their goat cheese gnocchi, Locqui’s flour tortillas, Konbi, Madame Monsieur for your daily coffee and croissant, The Wolves for a nightcap….and of course, if you want authentic Chinese food, Monterey Park/Arcadia or bust. The best thing about LA is there’s always something going on, and you never really know until a few days before. So I’d look into random live shows and pop-up experiences. Again, assuming COVID isn’t around….
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To the friends that I made in LA who’ve helped me grow and encouraged me to have the confidence to call myself an artist and a curator. There are too many, I’m afraid I’m going to be doing a disservice to a lot of people, so I’ll stick to books: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri Love of Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud The Science of Enlightenment by Shenzhen Young When I Grow Up I Want To Be A List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen
Other: http://nextart.tech http://twitter.com/nextarttech
Amber Pietrzyk, Evan Norton