“Art is a form of self-expression and rebellion. Being an artist is a big ‘f-you’ to the institution – I have a prestigious liberal arts degree that I don’t use, and I’m making way more headway than I would be ‘in that field’. Art is teaching me how to work with the impossible; how to make something out of nothing, and truly how to enjoy myself through my own passion.”
Natasha’s story is a fascinating one. Known as “POST WOOK,” the digital artist creates collages of subjects and environments that normally shouldn’t be together, but that’s what perhaps makes viewing her work such a unique, fun, and trippy experience.
Natasha’s medium is also a perfect metaphor for her life. Her experiences stray onto an extremely wide perspective, consisting of a troubled childhood and an early political career. This is the story of how Natasha pieced together the pieces of her own life into becoming the artist she is today.
Early Days: A Change in Scenery
If you were to ask Natasha who she was in her early days, her answer would depend on where she was living. Natasha’s childhood can be divided into two periods in two different cities in Maryland: College Park and Greenbelt.
As the name suggests, College Park is a college town for the University of Maryland and a suburb of Washington, DC. It might make you think that living so close to the nation’s capital might have led to a life of compliance. But that…was not necessarily the case.
Natasha opened up to us saying, “I got into drugs at least 3 years before most of my peers, I had a lot of older friends who didn’t go to my school, and I was off doing things that most 13-year olds wouldn’t do from a young age. I’m not necessarily proud of the person I was in middle school, and I sought to rebuild myself in high school, which I did to a degree.
Moving to Greenbelt provided Natasha with a change of scenery, and a chance to “move into her personality and assimilate into normalcy.” She began applying herself in high school and began building a reputation for being book smart. In addition, Natasha starting swimming again and surrounding herself with a strong support system of friends.
Though not the easiest of childhoods, Natasha maintains an optimistic attitude, saying, “This might all sound really sad, but these experiences brought me to the place I am now. I’m grateful for all of them.”
From Politics to Collages
Growing up around the DC area naturally made politics a part of daily life. Politics were often discussed at the dinner table. But the lack of creativity eventually got to her and she started going back to what she used to frequently do as a kid: make collages.
Like most artists, venturing into a field of creativity was a challenge, at first.
“At the beginning, I made a few pieces that I’d now never show anyone now – the edges were sloppy, the composition was mismatched, and the overall narrative didn’t have a story to it. But I remember how good it felt to just enjoy what I was doing for once, and I think that feeling really revolutionized why I continued to make art. I realized that there were skills that could be learned but stories had to be told – and there was no way I could hold that back. So I kept creating; kept learning; kept pushing and things eventually started to happen.”
Of all her pieces, Natasha credits her piece “Morning Commute” (above) as one of the first pieces that helped her realize she had a talent for digital collages.
“I didn’t think it was that good, it seemed a little simple for me. But I think around the time I made that I realized that I actually was good at making art and my subconscious included a lot of little details in my art that I didn’t even register off the bat. I think ‘Morning Commute’ was one of those times.”
Since then, Natasha has come a long way. Her pieces have been viewed by millions of people and she has been hired by for several impressive collaborations, including ones with Toyota and Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.
But beyond all of that, Natasha says it’s the personal interactions with her fans that bring her the most inspiration. Back in June 2019 after the Dayton and El Paso shootings, she received orders of her prints from people in both those cities. Concerned about them, she wrote them personal notes and was glad to hear back that they were safe.
Art has a fascinating ability to connect people who would otherwise be strangers.
The Days Ahead
Even with as much as she’s accomplished, Natasha is still her own biggest critic.
Speaking upon her future, she told us, “I’d like to see where things go. If anything, I want to be kinder to myself in my craft. I tend to think very critically of myself and my work ethic. There’s something like a little drill sergeant in my head that doesn’t want me to rest or relax – just keep going. But I know I need to relax in order to pour from a filled cup. So I’d like more of an internal balance within myself.”
The path of an artist is oftentimes paved not only with excitement and passion but also fear and uncertainty. Art requires creators to constantly put themselves out there and be judged – sometimes fairly, sometimes not. Regardless, it’s part of the craft and not the easiest journey to take.
Even still, Natasha revels in the process: “sometimes I don’t think of myself as an artist at all, while other times there’s nothing else on my mind. It’s a sliding scale of self-discovery that I am truly grateful for."