With mere days remaining until Tiffany & Co.‘s new NYC store at 98 Greene Street opens on September 4, the iconic jewelry company hired an impressive roster of artists to decorate its construction site. First, Danielle Dimston and Ellis Gallagher each left their mark; next, Danny Roberts decorated the large façade with a decadent party scene. Now, British artist Natasha Law’s picked up the paintbrush, creating an image of a girl searching for something—jewelry, we’d venture to guess—while backlit in Tiffany blue. We had to know more about this charming work, so we asked Natasha—who, yes, is superstar actor Jude’s big sister—all about it.
Lucky: Your mural for the Tiffany storefront is so mysterious. What story were you hoping for the image to tell?
Natasha Law: The brief was "Love," and that took some thinking on my part. Imagine trying to pinpoint what could symbolize love in a way that makes sense to both yourself and other people. What came to mind first was the flashlight. It seemed to encompass everything: the experience we’ve all had of looking for love when the beam of light is cutting its fragile way through an apparently infinite dark space, that feeling of connection when you are in love with someone, the way they can light you up, the feeling that only they matter in a room full of people, how you always have each other’s attention. The lyrics "shine your light on me" came to mind. I largely work figuratively, but didn’t want to stray into anything that only told one kind of story, and I knew that would be hard if I started painting a man or a woman. I decided to limit the image to just one figure, but since the blue Tiffany beam is appearing from behind and finding her, the story carries on "offscreen," as it were.
Most of your works are quite minimalist, but the focus tends to be on a specific fashion item: a shoe, a bag, a bikini. How does style factor into your artwork, and what message do you hope its inclusion communicates?
To me these items are elements in the still life I’m creating. I love them, as they allow me to introduce another color into the work to play off against the blank space of the figure. As I mostly use people I know as models, they bring their own accessories along—so for me, they become part of the portrait of the person…a vest I can associate with a certain friend, a shirt I remember someone wearing. They are style choices each person has made for themselves and, as such, are part of the image they wish to project.
The subjects of your paintings are notably anonymous. What’s your reason behind that?
I am drawn to work figuratively—I like the play of shapes between limbs and clothing. But what I really want is to take it to a place where they are so very nearly just shapes, yet with a little tenderness left inherent in them that a knee or a stooped shoulder might bring. When faces are involved, this abstraction gets lost.
What was it like working with a brand like Tiffany & Co.?
They gave us a lot of room to take the very open brief and run with it in whatever direction occurred to each of us. Their enthusiasm for the project was so infectious. I loved their idea of drawing on the original spirit of SoHo as an area of artistic creativity by giving three artists full reign to paint the outside of their store. Everyone from Tiffany was wonderful to work with, down to their willingness to help with holding ladders and paintbrushes. You don’t often find that level of enthusiasm for a project.
What are some of your own favorite pieces of jewelry, and why?
I have a 1950s gold charm bracelet my boyfriend bought for me in Paris for a significant birthday. To it, I’ve added a few gold charms I inherited from my great aunt and grandmother. There’s also a Victorian diamond ring I was bought in Ireland, which I think of as my "wedding ring."
What are three items of jewelry you think no woman should be without?
As I’ve gotten older, my appreciation for gold has definitely taken firm hold. I would say a bracelet—it could be a bangle, a linked chain, a cuff—but one fabulous bracelet you either wear all the time, save for special occasions or stack up with others. A gold necklace of some kind, too—I have a chain with an apple pendant on it which I never take off, since it pairs up with much more disposable/ interchangeable necklaces. I haven’t got one of my own yet, but a fantastic watch would be my last choice—it could be a man’s watch, could be vintage—but something precious and chunky.
Photo courtesy of Sean Sullivan of The Impossible Cool.
Natasha Law is represented by Breed London.
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