We’ve had a soft spot for the beautiful Natasha Vermeulen ever since we were lucky enough to work in the same studio space as her. This modest master of illustration is now back in NZ after living abroad, working as a freelance designer and – lucky for us – creating art prints for endemicworld. With techniques to burn, Nat’s style - from feminine sketches, to stylised typographic prints, to bold cartoon-style illos – is as varied as her skill.
NZ designer and illustrator Natasha Vermeulen
Is your art a full-time job for you now, or if not – what is your ‘day job’?
Personal illustration and art projects are definitely part time at the moment.
I work as graphic designer and illustrator by day, with my own clients or contracting to studios in Auckland.
You’re drawing and you’re totally in the flow – Where are you? Who is with you? What are you listening to, what are you sipping/nibbling on?
If I’m in a conceptual phase: A favourite cafe; alone; cafe noises; coffee.
Or if it’s late at night: Home studio; alone; listening to Spotify (some indie station no doubt) or a movie/audiobook; eating candy.
It’s definitely easier for me to get into the zone by not talking to anyone when I’m drawing, but I do love to hear a good story at the same time.
Nat sketching at one of her fave Auckland city coffee spots
Tell us about a few creatives/designer you are personally inspired by?
At the moment I seem to have a thing for monochromatic, tactile design. Loving the work of tattoo artist Victor Webster, and the jewellery and brand of Walter Crow. Also, the hand painted letters and icons by BMD Design in France is amazing. I’m also a bit obsessed with the awkward cartoons of Oohlala, a Korean Stationery brand.
Scenes from Natasha’s home and cool home-studio; the cat king himself (cat company is the best kind).
What’s the most exciting/inspiring project you’ve ever worked on?
A while back I got to work on a video interviewing the guys from Cut Collective. Getting to visit their studio and see the guys working on personal and commercial art, and in a style they enjoy, set a good precedent for how I wanted to move forward in my work. It was also the first time I worked in a video medium with a delicious camera lens, which opened up a whole new world to me.
Beside art/illustration, what else do you love to do?
I don’t think I could be happy without music. The happiest moments for me are drawing or being at a gig. Perhaps it’s because they both require me to be completely present, so I get to really enjoy being in the moment and not thinking about anything else. I also quite like cycling and rock climbing, and will hopefully get back into both this year (recovering from a bad back injury).
Supplies and creative eye-candy; a work-in-progress
What words of advice would you give to someone wanting to make art their career?
Haha I’m not quite there yet, so that’s difficult to say. I’m still enjoying graphic design projects and working with clients, so perhaps I’m not quite willing to give that up completely to pursue a life of art.
Art and illustration projects on the side do tend to influence my design work, so in that sense I would say keep doing what you love and putting it out there.
Also, one of the benefits of NZ being so small is that it’s quite easy to meet people and find work in our creative communities. Go to gallery shows, join creative groups, volunteer for charity art projects and you never know what kind of work could follow.
Special edition art print Natasha created to fundraise for a campaign against shark finning (more info and purchase here)
Top row: Endless Summer - huge A0 print on wood, They See Me Rollin’ art print; Purple Bike art print
Bottom row: Schutzengraben art print; Bear and Beer art print; the popular Ka Pai art print