We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Wheeler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, let’s jump right in. What are you most passionate about? Why?
I am most passionate about creating. As an artist, my photography is my primary vision and my voice, but there are many ways in which we “create” as human beings. Our imaginations, creative energy and ability to share it is what makes humans so extraordinary. From our complex language skills to our fine motor skills, the world is colored with beautiful human creations. It is within these abilities that many of us find our purpose, contribute positively, and effect change in culture and society.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started off in family/documentary photography, but now I am primarily a self-portrait artist. I use natural light to create moody, dramatic and often sensual photographs. I have had to break down a lot of personal boundaries in order to make and share these self-portraits. It is a journey to finding self-acceptance, self-love and my voice. Life-changing journeys are rarely easy and comfortable, and this was no exception. It is important to me as an artist, woman, mother, wife and human that I challenge the rules/expectations of how we are supposed to portray ourselves after we are married and have children. I have learned so many lessons along the way in creating my art. Learning to trust myself, and give myself completely to the process of creating has been a window into another world where I have complete freedom. In that world, I find the core of my being and can let my creative energies run wild.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I have been lucky enough to actually have this happen! It’s a wonderful and exciting thing to show someone around this city. I am an avid hiker, so we’d probably start off the day hiking either West Wing Mountain or Caulderwood-Butte. I live in an area of new construction, so there isn’t much in the way of non-chain restaurants near us yet. So, we’d likely venture off to Central Phoenix. I love Lux coffee shop, maybe grab a coffee and salad for lunch there. Then head to the Yard/Culinary Drop-Out for some afternoon ping pong, table shuffleboard, and cornhole. Postino WineCafe, Windsor, Joyride Taco are all right near each other on Central Ave and are wonderful places to grab a cocktail or bite to eat–the spicy cucumber serrano margarita at Joyride is tops! The FilmBar is a great and unique place to catch an artsy, independent flick with a pint. Dancing while DJ’s spin some vinyl under a colorful disco ball at Linger Longer Lounge is also always a fun time!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I gladly thank everyone who has been a part of my life in helping me to become the human and artist that I am today–and the artist I will always be evolving into. There have been so many artist that I look up to, who have inspired me. And there has been wonderful support from family and friends along the way in my journey. For those who have struggled to support my artistic endeavors, it has only been a helpful lesson in strengthening my resolve to hear my voice above all others, and provided fuel for figuring out what boundaries I want to push through my art.
These are all self-portraits…of me, by me 😉