Nat Morley: ‘It’s Great When Celebrities Recognise What I Do’
May 29, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
This realistic picture of Eminem is the work of 17-year-old Nat Morley, a London-based artist who is gaining increased recognition.
A precociously talented girl who describes herself as an “elf disguised as Batman,” Nat’s drawings have been rewarded with a significant number of fans on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, with her work being enjoyed by thousands of people.
Like most talented people, Nat started early and has always had a keen interest in art. “I’ve drawn my entire life as far back as I can remember,” she says. “I started doing portraits more seriously when I was12, though.”
Indeed, the change in Nat’s art during that time is very clearly shown by a picture on her official Facebook page that shows her work from 2008 to the present day side by side. In that time, Nat’s artistic style has evolved considerably to the very realistic and supremely detailed pieces that you see today.
Nat’s constant improvement over that time period is due to an awareness of how to make her art achieve the effect she wanted; in this case, realism. To that end, one of the main and most noticeable changes between 2008 and now has been a slow move away from colour – a deliberate decision on Nat’s part to improve the realism of her work: “When you do colour it is so much more difficult to achieve realism without it looking almost like a cartoon.
“There’s so many colours and things that have to go together to get that ‘real’ effect. Not to mention black and white brings out features a lot better.”
Nat’s drawings, she says, are “more inspired by the people I draw rather than other artists”. Their talent feeds into her own, enabling her to draw what she wants.
“Their music or what they do tends to inspire me. That’s why I draw ‘crazy’ and ‘different’ people.”
One such person is the American rapper Hopsin. The artist, who has also acted and produced, is the subject of one of Nat’s most realistic and detailed drawings – presumably thanks to Hopsin’s unique look inspiring her.
This drawing – every inch as detailed and realistic as the Eminem piece – also became one of Nat’s greatest successes to date. When Hopsin saw the drawing he responded with enthusiasm, first messaging Nat and then asking to use the piece in the booklet for his latest album. Nat describes this as “an amazing thing to happen. It’s great when people like that recognise what I do! I love the idea that people give my art immunity by putting it on an album like Knock Madness.”
Though the most recent, this is not the first time Nat’s art has been publically appreciated. “I’ve had a few celebrities contact me before. In fact, a few days before I was approached by Hopsin I had Skylar Grey [writer of Eminem’s 'Love The Way You Lie', featuring Rihanna] message me and start posting some of my art to her fans.”
A visit to Nat’s various web pages will mainly show sketches, but that is not all she does. Despite her using less colour, Nat is not at all averse to using it in non-sketched pieces.
“I still do colour. Not as often as I used to, but I still do it every now and then using oil pastel or watercolour.”
Nat’s versatility, of course, does not end there. In addition to sketches, Nat occasionally dabbles in and enjoys a variety of other pieces of art. “I can do designing such as tattoos, album covers and logos, and I like abstract too,” she says.
The tattoo art in particular is an example of Nat’s versatility, and leads to another ambition of hers – something else she is hoping for her art to achieve: “One day I hope somebody will tattoo a design that I have created on themselves.”
It is clear that despite her reasonably young age, Nat not only has a clear idea of how to improve her art – that much is clear when you observe the change from 2008 to now – she also has an acute understanding of her own motivations, which helps her art to achieve the effect that it does. Her own observational skill, she says, is a key to her talent as a realistic sketch artist.
“I do sketches because I think I’m quite good at analysing. I pay attention to details and that’s just what you need when drawing in realism.”
As for the future? Nat is currently attending college, and is optimistic about her talent and creativity being used in her later career. Her art is certainly good enough to have a strong influence on her future but she is “going to see what the future holds”.
“I’d like to incorporate my creativity in some way in my future. I’ve never thought of an exhibition before but one day it may happen.”
By Matthew Cox
[Image courtesy of Nat Morley]