We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalia Valle and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Natalia, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’ve always identified as Guatemalan American. Even though I was born in Los Angeles, California, I was raised in Guatemala from age two until age ten. The impact my childhood has had on me is huge. Today as an adult I look at everything through layered lenses, because like many people we are not one single label. Through my work I definitely explore ways to bring my cultural heritage to the forefront of my subject matter while also figuring out how it stands today.

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.
I primarily paint, and I am a visual artist. My work concentrates in my cultural identity because I explore that every day. I love exploring Mayan motifs and weaving them into my life here today. I am a strong believer that our ancestors are a part of our lives today in ways we don’t realize. I bring those ideas and elements in my work. Layers and different materials help me explore these ideas. The work I create incorporates different textures and sometimes everyday found items, but the quality of the work and ideas are still very much intact and remain of the highest quality. On the side I enjoy card making as well. Paper is a very beautiful medium to me and I’ve used it in the last few pieces I’ve created. The way I approach my canvas and work is how I approach every day life. Sometimes I have a solid plan and sometimes I don’t, but ultimately it should say something that matters to me. Our society today values art in such a peculiar way. On the one hand it’s important but on the other it’s not regarded as non essential compared to an academic path. That’s the main struggle I have had in my own career. I do not make art or paint a painting because I know I’ll make a lot of money. I want to make a living out of my skill, however I will paint regardless of that outcome. I don’t necessarily think I’ve overcome anything in terms of an art career. That is a lesson that weighs on me. I know what I “should be creating or making” in order to be more marketable. I strongly believe in making what I want to make, and maybe not many people will enjoy that. A maker, a craftsman, a musician, I can go on and on, we all make a decision soon or later. It’s not easy to take “the long way” but it’s certainly more fulfilling.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I enjoy food and travel and art! Museums would be high on my list to visit, including the Getty museum, LACMA and The Museum of Jurassic Technology ( one of the most unique places). In SoCal you also cannot miss the coast line! I actually grew up near Venice beach and never took advantage until now that I’m older. I’ve had some great Peruvian food from El Huarique by the boardwalk in Venice. Mercado in Santa Monica has my favorite shrimp jicama tacos! You’ll also find great roof top bars in Downtown LA for brunch or a fun night out or weekend.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The truth is that my friends have been the ones that have really pushed me and helped me in more ways than one. Some have listened to me countless hours and given me advice or support when I needed it. Veronica, Aaron, and Michelle, are some of the people that have known all my ups and downs for many years. Lili and Jennifer have also encouraged me in more ways than one. My other support system is my artist community. These friends not only encourage me vocally but they really support me by promoting my work with their friends and communities. They themselves are incredible artists and I recommend checking their work as well! This includes Lauren Davidson a fellow artist and talented painter. ( Her Native American Art is incredible!) ( Instagram: @laurendavidsonart) Christine Frost of Desert Mine ( Jewelry) makes beautiful desert themed accessories and creates original pieces of the best quality! ( Instagram: @desertmine) Melissa Castellanos is a huge supporter of small business and she gets involved in her local community to promote others. She currently is making reusable face masks ( Instagram: @castel_mel)

Website: www.nataliavalleart.com
Instagram: @nvice_art