MEET POSTWOOK, H+ CREATIVE ARTIST - Q&A with H+
Natasha Chomko AKA POSTWOOK is a Los Angeles-based digital artist who creates otherworldly landscapes by splicing together elements of nature and the cosmos to create ethereal universes found in your dreams. Her work consistently pushes the boundaries of color theory, texture, and depth to bring new ideas to life.
H+: Your art provides a sense of vintage, fantasy adventure. Where does this inspiration come from?
POST WOOK: I really love being outside in nature, it's truly a spiritual experience for me. There's something really special about the vastness of nature, the visualization of distance and space, and the natural textures of life that inspires me to no end. I thoroughly enjoy splicing together bits and pieces of reality that normally wouldn't work together into a new universe. I'd say I've always had an eye for putting things together that normally shouldn't work, and art is a perfect visualization of that for me.
H+: Much of your work presents roads to somewhere else. Share with us your fascination for escapism.
POST WOOK: I'm glad you noticed that! I really love the point of view that roads give foregrounds because it allows the viewer to feel like they're really in the image. I think there's something raw about (safely) standing in the middle of a road out in nature that makes me feel very connected to the universe. I share that with viewers because it draws them into the image and helps them feel immersed in the piece itself. I think the roads in my work represent the continuation of a journey more than escapism -- they represent this idea that life is never going to stay constant and there's always going to be a new place to travel to; we live in constant change and evolution and it's important to stop and look around sometimes, but also to keep moving forward because that's the only way through.
H+: How has your workflow evolved over the years? Software, technique, style, etc...
POST WOOK: So much has changed. When I first got into collage art as a kid I was ripping cool textures out of NYLON and J. Crew magazines to make amalgamated, photomontage messes that made little sense. I had no grip on copyright, no agenda, all vibes. As I got older and moved into digital collage, I truly just taught myself by a lot of trial and error and messing around with specific features. I like being a self taught artist because I never feel confined to the styles or methods that a teacher has impressed on me, so I learned how to do what I want and create the highly stylized art that you've seen.
Style has changed a bunch, though. I feel the genesis of POSTWOOK was very funky and choppy, containing a lot of textures and colors and a lot more contrast. I liked making things with less compositional grace than I do now. I was a bunch more creative and creatively risky, but I'm glad I evolved out of that. Over time my style has evolved to become more cohesive and color-balanced and I'm a lot happier where my art is at now than where it was. I still enjoy getting wild from time to time, but creating super cohesive pieces is truly my bread and butter at the moment.
My actual process has changed a lot, too. When things were a bit more cooky I could knock out up to 10 pieces in one session because I was bursting with half baked (and probably half good) ideas for pieces. I could assemble a piece from top to bottom in 10-15 minutes for myself. Now things take a lot longer. I think about what I want to do a lot more, I really take my time and pay attention to detail, and I'm very fixated on making sure the puzzle in my mind has come together exactly as I intended. I might be able to make up to three pieces in one session, but the sessions are longer and typically require a few short breaks.
H+: How has your experience been making a living through your creativity?
POST WOOK: It's been a whirlwind and it's gone through a lot of phases. When I first went full time it was really exciting because I had saved and saved and finally felt like I was in a good place, and then the pandemic hit a few months later and things changed drastically. I was still fine, but it was a very different year than I had anticipated. Every second of it has been rewarding, though. I am absolutely thrilled that I'm able to support myself through creating my work and that people trust me enough to bring their vision to life. The 12 year old with her chaotic photomontage magazine collages would be so stoked to know what I'm up to now, and sometimes I truly feel like I do it for her.
H+: How does your artwork represent the person you are?
POST WOOK: This is a really good question. I think my work represents me in the sense that I am who I am because of bits and pieces of my past, people who have been in my life, my life experiences, and everything I've done in my life to get to where I am now parallels how my art splices parts of reality to create something new. I've been told I am a human who has lived a lot of lives, and I do truly see that for myself. The mountains in my work have seen a lot of footsteps; the trees have felt a lot of wind. If they could talk I'm sure they'd tell stories and I might be able to relate to some of them. The moon serves as a portal to me, so I use it to serve as a reminder. All of it comes together to represent these hidden meanings of my life, my emotions, and the way I see the world in the way I can visually express myself to the world.
H+: Describe yourself in one sentence.
POST WOOK: I am a clusterfuck of trauma, learned experience, getting to the other side and making it work for yourself: this is the product of life giving me lemons.
H+: Do you have a dream client you wish to work with?
POST WOOK: Absolutely! I have a few. I'd love to do a design collaboration with a major fashion house (I am not picky) but I feel like my style would lend itself best to Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, or Gucci. I'd also love to do a large scale public art installation in a convention center or stadium.
H+: How has your artwork impacted your life and future goals?
POST WOOK: Everything in my life has changed because of art. Before I really started making art as POSTWOOK I was working in politics and I had aspirations of being a lawyer. I never thought that I'd be able to find confidence in myself through work, or that I'd let myself get so vulnerable through sharing my creative process with so many people. It's astonishing that my vision has landed so well with so many people, I never anticipated my life looking like this but I'm grateful for it. As far as future goals go, all of what I thought I wanted has changed for the better. I have a tendency to rush into my future and want things that typically take decades to manifest into something in front of me immediately although I know how unrealistic that truly is. The difference is that now those things feel real, attainable, and can be achieved through art.
For more information on H+ Creative Artist POST WOOK, visit her artist page!