Student Artist: Natalie J. Mund

June 26, 2020

Pre-Major: Fine Arts

ArtworkWhy did you choose NVC and what do you like about it?
I started at NVC in 2004 to acquire the basic credits for an associate’s degree because of its convenience and location. The campus was just in its 9th year and I felt at home attending classes at NVC since it was very close to where my family and I were living at the time. The college community was engaging, openminded, and uplifting. Motivational signs were posted throughout the campus as a reminder to the students and this appealed to me. I also loved the concept learning in group settings, this provided an extra charm in its environment. It still remains that way today after returning to NVC in 2019 – 2020. The campus’ appearance has changed a bit since, staff and students grew in number, all for the better giving NVC the diversity and openness it had always intended.

Describe your background. What made you decide to be an artist?
Since I can remember, I have naturally gravitated towards being an artist. As a child, I enjoyed using my imagination and I especially felt at ease when I would draw. What started out as a way of escaping would later develop into a passion. I believe most of my inspiration derived from my late and talented grandmother, Nellie Buel, who was a master printmaker. One of the first technics she taught me was contour drawing and in a fun way, she explained, to pretend a little ant was scaling the object while sketching out the subject of choice. This gave me great practice with drawing skills while also providing a form of playing pretend. I loved the freedom and control that art simultaneously gave me and still do. As a young adult, I frequently made trips to my grandmothers’ studio in Comfort, TX, where she and her fellow artist friends mentored a variety of painting and printmaking techniques.

During my earlier college years at SAC, I was trained from some of the finest professors where I took a variety of fine art classes. In the last twenty years or so, my love for photography began to blossom and became especially inspired by my children during their growth spells and stages. I felt a need to preserve their eventful moments and times which evolved utilizing them as primary subjects in many of my creations. Throughout the years I’ve regularly competed in the annual SAALM Juried Artists Exhibit, participated in the San Antonio Tournament the “Instant Gratification” Photographers’ Challenge, and have shown at the Gallery 126 1/2 @ Photosynthesis, Manchester, CT, and Black Box Gallery Online exhibit. It’s an honor and rewarding to have had some of my artwork recognized, awarded and placed in some of these shows. Overall, I feel that art and photography is a unique language of its own and a beautiful way of life.

Which classes or faculty members impacted your work and your life?
One of the most eye-opening classes taken at NVC was World Cultures, taught by Professor Craig Coroneos. The subject opened me up by introducing diverse philosophies about the many cultures presented from all parts of the world. The lessons taught in class suggested a wide range of topics that have intrigued and enhanced my creative visions and personal beliefs. Additionally, this class took great care and respect for the many customs, various religions, behaviors and lifestyles of different groups of people. This extended my view in measuring the world, for not being as big or small, depending on how its seen. Altogether, the creative aesthetics homes rich quality in treasuring the variations of cultures and humankind by taking this class and in the way Professor Craig carefully taught it.

Describe your work’s concept, aesthetic, and your process of making it.
Conceptual-photography would best describe the style of work that I do. I try to illustrate evoking ideas in my work from themes, memories, personal experiences, dreams, thoughts, feelings, and moods. One of my favorite photography techniques is called ‘painting with light.’ I had the pleasure taking a seminar taught by photographer, William Terry in 2018. This method proposes a range of advantages and opportunity with using light in a fantastic way, where it illuminates segments of the scene and adds emphasis and color to the objects being photographed during long exposure time than normal. Painting with light is exciting and rewarding because you don’t always know exactly how the image is going to precisely turn out until you see it for the first time. This techie art-medium involves a great deal of patience, accurate settings in the camera, timed exposure, and performed completely in a pitch-dark room. Instead of an actual paintbrush, I am using a homemade penlight and sometimes incorporating other assortments of light. If necessary, I will sometimes use a computer software; like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, to add subtle edits, altering overlays, or enhance specific details to whichever piece I am currently working on at the time.

Which artists inspire and/or influence you the most and why?
There are several remarkable artists and their works of art that I could list having been influenced or inspired by. But overall, I would have to say my late grandmother; artist Nellie Buel, continuously encourages me through her existing art pieces and all the many heartfelt memories of spending time at her studio and home. I can remember being as little as the age of four, looking and studying the paintings that hung on the walls at our home in Helotes, that consisted mostly of my grandmother’s artwork. There was one particular painting that hung above our couch and would stare at it for lengthy amounts of time, picking out unintended images within the canvas. This explicit still-life painting of flowers and pitcher, was decorated with thick acrylic paints that had bold brushstrokes and muddled colors. This painting gave me a craving for creating and inspired an overall way of thinking while consuming her work of art that was up close and personal. She left an effecting imprint that continues to inspire me to this day.

What kind of plans do you have set for your future as an artist? Are you planning to pursue a Bachelor's degree?
I have finished the last of my credits at NVC and have one remaining class to take this summer, 2020. It’s taken an extraordinarily long time to complete but well worth the wait knowing the reward having my first degree in Associates of Art. My hope is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the fine arts at UTSA and plan to continue taking art lessons and workshops. As an artist, will continue evolving, learning, creating art, and entering shows around the state and country. I enjoy meeting and collaborating with various artists and would love to be able to collectively exhibit a themed project concerning major topics and issues that are important to me.