The Heroine’s Journey of Natalie Kassirer

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love how you can take it in at a distance and appreciate the larger image, and then get up really close to it and see the amount of work put into a piece. I really like how anyone can look at it and see how much I care about my work because of how long it takes to create it.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Taking a walk to get coffee on the first warm spring day after winter. I can almost feel my soul thaw.

What is my greatest fear? Seeing the people I love suffering.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? It’s a trident of self-consciousness, self-criticism, and self-doubt. They’re all one trait really.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? I love Richey Beckett’s work, and his career is one I look to when I really need to give myself a kick in the butt and work harder. I also closely follow John Dyer Baizley’s artwork, Matthew “Sineater” Glover, Teagan White, Vania Zouravliov, Aaron Horkey, Lucy Hardie, Brad Kunkel, Lauren Marx, and obviously James Jean.

What is my greatest extravagance? Probably clothing. I sort of dress in the context of characters, so I own a number of people’s wardrobes for that reason. That or coffee!

On what occasion would I lie? I hate lying, and doing so makes me extremely anxious. I’ll only lie if it seems like a very very very safe bet, and even then, it hangs with me. But really, there’s nearly never a good enough reason to lie.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I always feel like I could have done more. Every time I look at a piece I see where I feel I cut corners, where I could have spent more time. I would love to have the time to love every single detail in my work! But as an illustrator there is also pressure to work quickly and to be prolific.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I’m most happy right now. It took a very long time to figure out who I was as an artist, what I wanted to say and how I wanted to work. And these days every time I make a new piece I feel happier, like I’m getting closer to the way I want my art to be.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would love to be more confident.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I don’t think I’ve seen it yet. My work feels the most vibrant and alive for me when I am constantly striving for the next thing, and like the big thing is just on the horizon.

Where would I most like to live? I’m pretty damn close right now, out in Western Massachusetts! Somewhere out in the woods where people won’t bother me, but ideally within an hour of a city where I can soak up inspiration, then retreat.

What is my most treasured possession? A letterpress print of my favorite piece by Teagan White. I still can’t believe I own it!

What is my most marked characteristic? Criticism and analysis, I think. Of primarily myself, but also everything around me…

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? By far, the Book Mill in Montague, MA. It’s an old mill building over a river, and it’s full of used books for sale and comfortable chairs and sofas. When it’s warm, the best experience is snagging an easy-chair by an open window and drinking coffee from their café and working while listening to the river rush by outside.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? We have a little Mexican restaurant called Mission Cantina. It’s so delicious but so small it can hardly fit everyone who wants to eat there in a night! There’s always a line, but we go anyway.

What books influenced my life and how? Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” refuels my desire to be an artist every time I read it. And Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” fills me with such a passion to protect our planet, and especially protect it from humans, which is a motif that shows up in my artwork from time to time.

Who are my favorite writers? Cormac McCarthy is certainly one, Nabokov is another, Stephen King, and Edward Abbey. I always find myself reading these gritty male authors! I wonder what that means.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Jazz!

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Morticia Addams.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? He had his problems, but Edward Abbey feels like a hero. I admire his stalwart defense of our planet while he was alive.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Mad Max: Fury Road because I think everyone can get something out of it!

What role plays art in my life and work? Art is my whole life. It’s the difficulty and the success. It’s the strongest piece of my identity, and the thing I’ve worked hardest at in my life.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My mother. She’s an artist as well and really encouraged me to take art seriously. We do very different things, I draw and she’s a sculptor, but I actually think we have ended up making similar art, in a way, and since we live near one another now, we often get to work together too!

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? I would love to be hired to design a poster for a really cool metal show. Gig posters are my favorite projects.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018? I would love to meet Holly Exely who runs a lovely YouTube channel about illustration. I feel such a kindship with her. Also I’d like to meet her dogs…

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? I am collaborating with my mom, Sue Kassirer, on a line of ceramics with my illustrations on them! I am very much looking forward to seeing the final product, because I’ve wanted to collaborate with her all my life.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018? I haven’t made any announcements about this yet… But keep your eye on Hope And Feathers Gallery in Amherst MA in 2018… I will also be showing shortly at Off The Map Tattoo in Eashampton, MA, with my coworkers!

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I see people like my mom, and my boyfriend’s mom, who are lifelong artists and find ways to make money with their art where they can and they have never ever given up, even though it becomes hard to keep time for your craft when you have kids and a house and another job. I hope I can be like that. Even if I were somehow able to retire on my illustration one day, I would never stop drawing.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?Two of my best friends: Kristina Key who is an abstract printmaker currently in Tennessee, and Devyn Park who is a printmaker and illustrator from Hawaii!

How can you contact me?

You can email me at natalie.kassirer@gmail.com , find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliekassirerillustration , instagram @nataliekassirer, and see my portfolio atwww.nataliekassirer.com.

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