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Life and Work with Natalie Lerner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Lerner.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Sarasota, FL – both my parents were in the creative field, my mom a master printer and my dad was a painter. I assumed having an art-inclined life was the norm, and in reality it’s a privileged and special way to grow up. My dad passed when I was a teenager, and it is something that really affected my life. By the time I graduated high school I was still drawing and focusing on creative interests like both of my parents, so I applied to Ringling College of Art & Design. When I was a student we would take trips to Miami to visit Art Basel, a huge shifting point in my understanding of art in a larger cultural and commercial context; Seeing artists with wildly successful careers opened my eyes to the art world at large. During college I went to NYC for a residency program and attended Yale’s Summer Program. Once I graduated in 2014, I moved to Philadelphia briefly, and now live in Brooklyn again.

I am a practicing artist and my solo show “100 CORNERS”  at the Art Center in Sarasota just came down. Over the four years spent in New York, I have widened the neural network of friends and peers, which now really feels like home. I also work as a Content Manager for a gallery in Manhattan. The gallery attends UNTITLED fair in Miami regularly, and now I’m one of the gallery workers sitting in a booth, which is a place I hadn’t ever imagined myself as a student.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are a lot of issues with being a young creative person in the world. Finding or devising a source of income, being able to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head, all of that. It took a couple years to find a job that sustains my practice that offers to pay me well enough on top of providing health insurance. Being an artist means you aren’t in the position to be trained for a specific job or field, you’re always having to find where you can fit.

Please tell us about your business.
I don’t have a business but an art practice. My work is about trying to comprehend loss and grief. I work with visual symbols that I view as tools that can be used in order to retrieve something desired and obstacles that block one from attaining them. These tools and obstacles can operate in a literal or metaphysical sense. The work initially came from reflecting on my father’s death when I was a teenager, and how I started to understand that death touches us throughout our life in various ways. As this body of work grows, I found a greater library of language and signifiers in the realms of horror and science fiction. These cultural spheres tap in to historical and topical fascinations with death and the unknown. I have adopted this language to achieve greater affect in presenting my own experience.

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
With both my parents being artists and educators, I had an idea of what an artist’s life can be like in really lived way – which I find really comforting and provides more reference as my own practice progresses. I remember things my parents were dealing with in their careers, and to be aware of those struggles from watching someone go through them before me makes me feel more informed about my own decisions as a young artist.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo of me in white jumpsuit credit: Courtesy Art Center Sarasota

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