Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview: Natalie Irish

Norma Jean

I am completely obsessed with Natalie Irish's art. She creates incredible paintings of culture icons like Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix by applying lipstick and kissing the canvas!  Check out this video of her working, it's really amazing to watch.

I know I want every single print I can get my hands on! (you can buy them here)  It's the perfect combination of subject and medium...I love Marilyn and Jimi and I love lipstick.  Sold!  The whole concept intrigued me, and Natalie was kind enough to answer a few questions I had for her!  Read on for fascinating insider details from the artist herself on how these unique paintings are created.

What is a "typical day" like for you?
I wish I had some romantic tale of how I get up and devote all day to creating art, but the truth of it is that my husband and I run the show all by ourselves. Ok, so I do spend most of my time painting, but I have to make time for answering email, interviews, shipping artwork, petting the cats and dog, etc. Even if I'm out running errands, I always have a sketchbook and other supplies with me. You never know where inspiration will strike, or when that next exciting idea will hit! We also make sure and take time for just talking. A lot of my inspiration comes from conversations we have about things like art, music, life...

What gave you the inspiration to use lipstick in your art? How long have you been creating these paintings? 
When I was in high school I learned about the technique of making portraits with thumbprints. In 2001 I was putting on makeup to go out one night and see a band. I blotted my lips on a bit of tissue and got the idea of using lips in the same way as the thumbprints, in the spirit of pointillism. Marilyn Monroe was of course the perfect candidate.

Who/what are your favorite subjects?  Who would you like to paint next? 
Portraits definitely lend themselves to the technique. I am working on integrating the kiss technique with other painting techniques. I also love the general theme of taking an everyday item and using it in a way it was not intended. Mixing materials that have very different properties is always exciting. I'm working on some new textile and crochet pieces using things like recycled t-shirts, wire, plastics, and even used ropes from some old cowboy friends.

How many lipsticks does it take to finish a painting? Do you use any particular brands or formulas for your art?
It depends on the lipstick. "Norma" was created with Rimmel in a dark red shade with a lot of pigment and only took about half a tube. "Influence" was with Urban Decay "Confession", which is a more sheer purple, and took almost 3 tubes.

Do you wear lipstick in your daily life, or just for your paintings?
I don't wear a lot of makeup.

If so, what lipsticks do you like to wear most? 
benefit, benetint lip stain

Any other favorite makeup products? 
lip moisturizer!!!


I can't thank Natalie enough!  Don't forget to check out her shop and pick up a print of your own! 


  1. So interesting and beautiful! I love how the art is created.