Diverse songstress and painter Natalia Zukerman discovered her initial artistic inspiration from an unlikely source. “I was terribly dyslexic as a kid and couldn’t read (books or music) until a pretty late age. I learned to play music by ear, and I learned to write by copying the images I saw. Over and over and over again. The capital letters B and E, the numbers 3 and 4, they became almost abstract shapes.” In the 4th grade, while studying the Ancient Egyptians, Natalia used the skills she had learned from dealing with dyslexia to recreate a near exact replica of a wall painting from a pharaoh’s tomb. This was Zukerman’s first painting.
Natalia went on to study visual art at Oberlin College where her lessons on the Chicano Mural Art Movement opened up a whole new world. Zukerman then became fascinated with California’s community artists, including artists like Judith Baca and Susan Cervantes. After relocating to San Francisco, it wasn’t long before Natalia found herself imbedded in that community, later starting her own mural company, Off The Wall.
Zukerman now resides in Brooklyn and balances her time as a nationally touring musician and an acclaimed painter and muralist. She often overlaps her two disciplines with such projects as Art.is.Song, a collaborative project with fellow songwriter and performer AG (who performs solo and in the LA-based band The Rescues). Zukerman and AG literally paint together, each passing a canvas or other working surface back and forth until a painting is complete. Their paintings are inspired by lyrics from their own songs and from friends like Catie Curtis, Susan Werner, Erin McKeown, Melissa Ferrick, Meg Hutchinson, and many others. When on tour with Art.is.Song, Natalia and AG create a complete and portable gallery in each of the venues and festivals that they perform at.
Aside from tour, Zukerman’s murals can be seen in many restaurants around Brooklyn, such as Villa Pancho Taqueria, Back 9 Grill, and Zaytoons, as well as sites around the world: “A People’s History of Telegraph Avenue” (Berkley, CA), Planet Rainbow (Oakland, CA), Alice on the Wall (New York, NY), Yellow Metrobus and Una Pequena Historia de Nuestros Mundos (Havana, Cuba), and Tiny Teeth (Phoenix, AZ).
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Zukerman has painted album artwork for her own music as well as other artists including Willy Porter and Winterbloom, Natalia’s holiday group with Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson and Antje Duvekot.
ART IS SONG with ADRIANNE GONZALEZ
Art.is.Song is a collaborative project with fellow songwriter and performer AG (who performs solo and in the LA-based band The Rescues). Natalia and AG met over 5 years ago at a music festival and had an immediate musical connection. Relying on imagery to convey emotions, the style of songwriting for both writers is very visual. So it would only seem natural for two songwriters who are acclaimed painters to collaborate.
Zukerman and Gonzalez literally paint together – each passing a canvas or other working surface back and forth until a painting is complete. Their paintings are inspired by lyrics from both their songs and friends like Catie Curtis, Susan Werner, Erin McKeown, Melissa Ferrick, Meg Hutchinson and others. They have appeared in venues and music festivals across the US. They have also created custom commissioned works for fans (including jewelry!) based on their music and the music of their friends. You can view and purchase their work on Etsy at WWW.ETSY.COM/SHOP/ARTISSONG >>
VIEW VIDEO ABOUT ART IS SONG >>
COMMUNITY MURAL ART PROJECTS
Zukerman has worked on community mural projects in California, Arizona and New York. She worked on the restoration of a mural in Berkeley, CA that was granted Historical Site status in 1998. In 2001, she worked with Stuyvesant High School students in Manhattan to create “Alice on the Wall,” a magical look at post 9/11 New York. She also worked with an artist in Cuba and painted a large, community mural in Havana. She has most recently painted private murals in restaurants in Brooklyn- a taqueria, a Middle Eastern Restaurant and a golf-themed bar.
MUSIC INSPIRED COMMISSIONS & WORKS ON CANVAS
For Zukerman, music inspires art and vice versa. Besides her own and AG’s lyrics, Zukerman has illustrated other songwriters’ music like Melissa Ferrick and Meg Hutchinson. She has also created numerous commissions piece based on her own and others’ music as well as a three-dimensional piece based on the Berg Violin Concerto for Wargaski Violins in Chicago.