Natasscha Girelli has a distinctive fondness of nature, the seaside in particular: “I always end up in the sea. I love the sea and I love the sky.” Her soft sfumato brush strokes mimic the gentle waves of the sea, a technique that she has polished during her time in social distancing. 

– I paint with acrylic, which affects my style because it’s perfect for my long lines and it dries perfectly. I’m through with one painting, it starts to dry, and then I can go on and continue on different places in the canvas. I’ve sort of developed a long and soft lines type of technique.

How did your love for nature come about?

– I grew up by the seaside in the north of Denmark – in a wonderful, free-spirited and travel enthusiastic family. The sea and sky were my best friends. I remember looking at my huge poster of the Guernica in black and white above my bed and I had a lot of questions for my mom about this. So my upbringing has a lot to do with love, nature and culture. I think this is also why I realised, at an early stage, what a great gift life actually is. So looking back, this was the perfect upbringing for me. 

Her love for art was planted at a very early age. A love that kept growing throughout her adulthood, as well. 

– Creating has always been a natural part of me and for me it was obvious to follow this path. It has always been there. I was painting at three years old and I went to an art school at nine.

It was during this time that she discovered how to play with dimensions, shadows and shapes. A skill that has translated into playful depictions of humans and nature in symbiosis.

Miracle Spirit

– The thing you see in front of you creates the picture but also the lights and the shades. I grew up at the north and there were not a lot of people like me so I was quite lonely. I always brought my sketch pads and pencils when I travelled and I was always painting things. I considered studying art in Florence and that’s why I stayed there for a month. However, I decided to go back and study at the school of design here. 

Do you regret that you didn’t study in Florence?

– I never regret it because I always travel to Italy. Italy has always been something special to me – the beauty and the culture is still very special to me. Once, I stayed at a monastery in Italy and painted. 

One would think that the pandemic would have left a mark on someone who loves to travel as much as Girelli, but she remains resilient and finds opportunities to grow and learn. Work and everyday life forced her to neglect painting for some years, but a newfound introspection during this time has allowed her to take her art to the next level. 

– Because of Corona, I don’t travel. Instead, I travel to my inner horizons and it’s truly a gift. Now, I have time to actually paint. Because I travelled and worked so much, I couldn’t really do this. So I’ve taken it up again and I can’t believe i haven’t painted for all these years. It’s actually incredible to discover that part of yourself and to refine it. I’m very thankful and I can’t say it out loud but it’s thanks to Corona. There’s always two sides of everything. 

TIP TOE

After finishing Randers art school, she took a break and asked herself “do I want to become one of those poor artists who were only honoured after life or should I go commercial. and there was a third option: my passion for fashion.”

While she didn’t decide to pursue painting on a professional level and instead opted to study graphics at the Kolding Design School in Copenhagen, she would find that her love for all things art and aesthetic remained. While working as an art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, she has found ways to express this love to the fullest. Today, she works as an international freelance art director for various fashion brands.

– I’ve seen so much beauty, so many different kinds of lighting. When I art direct and do photoshoots it’s just like painting. I decide everything and I use the light and creative themes and locations. I use everything around me to create the perfect pictures. But when I paint, it’s just me and my canvas and this is also wonderful. I don’t want to say it but it’s another challenge and I think it’s wonderful. Look at Picasso, he had many different expressions in his life. He painted photographically early and then he started to go bananas. I have 30 years of unleashed pictures in my mind. 

Her ritual when painting begins with listening to music – Brian Eno, Richard Hawley, and more. She’s particularly fond of the song “Ocean” by Richard Hawley. 

– I go about in the day and I continue and dream. When I wake up in the morning, I know exactly what I will do. I put on my overalls and I make a big nice quality cup of cappuccino and put on my music and then I start until there’s no more place on the canvas – this is why I do those soft strokes because I totally lose the idea of time. 

You can find more of Natasscha Girelli’s art here.