NATALIE KNOWLES

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For me creating art is a vital process, like breathing and eating. When I was two my mum had to give me a pen and a paper at the dinner table before I would even consider eating.

Rebellion! RAAWWRR began last year when I decided to paint my star sign: Leo. Strength, creativity, RAAWWRR energy, nobility, fire - a Leo embodies all of these things. The rules of the game: the painting should be energetic, take less than two hours and only use found objects in the home to paint with. Skewers, needles, lollipop sticks and paper clips have all been utilized in my RAAWWRR paintings. Painting like this exercises different creative muscles to my illustration work - I can go wild!

 
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RAAWWRR evolved when people began seeing these primal big cat paintings. Leo became a gift to my hosts in China, when I was invited to give a presentation about my artwork to the creative community in Chongqing. Then I got commissions: "paint my pet cat like that!," or "paint a really big lion on an A1 canvas," or "paint a tiger for my shop window," or "paint me!"

I responded to the commissions and also gave RAAWWRR paintings as gifts to friends. I'd ask myself: what wildlife would Katrina like and what colour palette evokes her personality? Or Jenny, who had just moved into a new house: how to paint for her to suit the minimal colour palette and elegant taste of her new home. (White Tiger).

 
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It's the Ying and Yang of creating: I need the energetic outlet of the RAWWRR paintings to balance the detailed illustration work. RAWWRR is also my R&D time: the project evolved into drawing with other media (wax crayons) and digitizing the artwork to sell on a range of giftware and accessories. Lion cushions are very popular.

I would love to work on bigger canvases and experiment with larger strokes and marks. The paintings take a lot more energy and I actually get a nervous excitement about painting them. It is the very unique method of mark-making that gives these paintings their energy.

 
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I am an illustrator by profession. I gained my MA in Sequential Design / Illustration at the University of Brighton in 2009. I am a member of the Association of Illustrators, have won several awards and just completed illustration a collection of Victorian short stories for children. I will keep RAWWRR separate from my illustration work. The paintings are lightening in a bottle; reminders to me to keep fresh, be bold, brave and creative. Like a Leo.

 

 

Check Natalie out on Instagram and her website.