Natasha Marin is a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and others.
Her latest book is Black Powerful: Black Voices Reimagine Revolution, published by McSweeney’s. We’ll be celebrating this book with a virtual conversation with Natasha, Katherine Agyemaa Agard and r. erica doyle on Tuesday, August 2 at 6PM PT.
Where are you writing to us from?
Literally: I can’t tell you because it’s a teensy bit of an anxiety-trigger … but figuratively, I have never felt safer in my life. When I close my eyes, I hear the distant voices of neighbors, and real-life, and the kind of rain that falls so softly, it’s as though it really was raining big-cotton-puffy-footed cats and maybe dogs too?
What has been most important for you, personally/artistically/habitually, during the pandemic?
It’s probably not the sexiest answer, but my children are personally, artistically, and habitually of high relevance to me. I have witnessed myself grow during this pandemic largely due to the grace and the love my parents have shown me.
Which writers, artists, and others influence your work in general, and this book, specifically?
When influence is really happening it’s so very subtle, don’t you find? I am inspired most by the writers, artists, and others who follow through and actually complete creative projects even under seemingly impossible odds. Give me a doer everyday, nothing but empathic love for those in the same place just thinking and rethinking everything.
Vanessa German’s visual repertoire is both transcendent and inspirational. I knew this before we even met in person. NK Jemisin continues to be the best and I like to say that Cixin Liu is the Chinese NK Jemisin— I highly recommend audiobooks to people who have lots of cleaning to stop procrastinating from and no time to justify “reading for pleasure.”
What books are you reading right now and would you recommend any to others?
I would recommend any book written by a Black Woman. I am currently reading (and enjoying) Finding Me by Viola Davis.
If you opened a bookstore, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?
If I opened a bookstore, it would be called Néctar. It would have a few locations around Central America. These stores would function not unlike art galleries where each store itself would be highly curated with featured collections, rotating, with perhaps something like a “permanent collection.” Book-lovers (especially multilingual ones) would find that Néctar sources the sweetest of literary delights from the locals themselves who coordinate with the Store Curator/Manager to carry a selection of books that are currently inspiring those who make each city what it is— the locals! The bestseller could be anything with the integrity to be touted by word-of-mouth first. This rotating collection would be available to visitors in translation in as many languages as possible so tourists could reasonably expect to find a book there that they can read comfortably in their own language without losing the adventurous spirit of leaving their comfort zone and traveling.