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(Image: Natsiree Puttavon)
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Artist(s) of the Week: Natsiree Puttavon & Stephanie Patterson

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Natsiree Puttavon: Hopefully, it's not terribly cliché to say that I have honestly been writing for as long as I can remember! Whether it was creating short stories about inanimate objects in elementary or writing small snippets on paper scraps which I would one day call poetry in high school, I have always written. The Notes app on my iPhone is particularly handy for this! So now I can write literally any time the inspiration strikes.
Stephanie Patterson: I've been creating since before I could remember. I used to lock myself in the basement and draw weird creatures and comics for hours. I'm always experimenting with new things, but my favorite mediums are paper, pencil and ink. I'm getting back into digital art again too. I used to be all about that when I was in grade school.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Puttavon: I'll feel something strongly — this can be a memory, a feeling, or simply a thought. And sometimes, it's more tangible, and other times, it feels more abstract. It's like I have to pluck it from the void, but once I do, it becomes more concrete. After I have a better grasp of what exactly it is, I'll start to dissect this feeling by writing it out; after all, there must be some reason of why it's suck in my head. So I'll come up with just a few words that relate to the main topic and emotions which can be derived from those words. From then on, I'll simply just start the writing process in an attempt to capture it and bring that image to life.
Patterson: I'm not even sure I know my artistic process! Haha. I guess it depends on the project. In a broad sense, an image will either strike me suddenly or I'll have to chew on an idea for a while. I'll start with a sketch, work with it for a bit, then make a "first draft" of sorts that I'll refine until I'm ready to transfer onto another sheet using a lightbox and typically ink. Or I'll take a picture of the sketch and "trace" it digitally and go from there!

Tell us about where your inspiration comes from.
Puttavon: Daydreams, fantasies, tragedies, Shakespeare's plays, Greek myths, fables, and miscellaneous fairytales that are deeply ingrained into my brain. I'm a romantic at heart.
Patterson: Usually nature, or mythology and videogames! I love animals and creatures of all kinds, so my inspiration always comes from them. And also dragons. Because dragons.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
Puttavon: Okay, this is going to be a bit embarrassing, wholeheartedly admitting to being a hopeless romantic here—but I adore writing about love. Whether it's shrouded in tragedy, a blossoming crush, two platonic lifelong souls, a thwarted star-crossed affair or the kind which makes one yearn, ache, and go a bit mad. Love, it's universal. And we've all felt it in one of its various forms. Love is simply so wondrous to me. And it provides countless amounts of inspiration!
Patterson: Probably the same as the above question. Animals and nature. I especially love hooved, clawed and horned beings.

Do you have one piece of work that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Puttavon: My book that I have recently self-published, "365 Days of Grief," is absolutely special to me. I was able to bear out my heart and sprinkle bits of my soul within the words.
Patterson: Probably a piece I did recently, "young forest spirit," because it was an image that blasted into my brain randomly one day, and I had to draw it, and it's everything I love. Antlers, nature, fawn-creature, and forest theme. I had so much fun using a new silver marker I just bought to color her hair.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Puttavon: Losing the man I loved for a decade honestly made such a huge impact on my writing. Actually, my book, "365 Days of Grief," is dedicated to him. His life was cruelly taken away in the early hours of the morning of February 4th, 2017. After losing him, I had fallen into unimaginable grief and despair. Writing was the only thing that had helped to heal me. For the first three months after his passing, the only thing I was able to do was write. It honestly saved me, and it allowed me a platform to work out my grief.
Patterson: Battling my own mental health through the years, which has made art both a frustration and a saving grace. But also, video games, since I was young, have always been huge inspiration and helps me feel more creative. There is some amazing art that goes into games.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
Puttavon: We had two exhibitions in January and February in Seattle, which had just ended, unfortunately! But I'm currently working on searching for more venues to display our work. For now, the official Instagram page would be the best place to see my work: @365daysofgriefpoetry. Our book is also available to be purchased through the link on Instagram as well!
Patterson: My Instagram, @stephz0r.arts.

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
Puttavon: Absolutely! I'm actually in the process of working on the rough draft of my next book, "365 Days of Survival." It will be a book of poetry and prose format about my experiences with trauma. As with my first book, initially, I had written it for myself in order to take the first step towards healing, but then realizing that I'm not alone in this. Perhaps by reading my words and releasing this work, it will help others take the step towards healing as well.
Patterson: I'm working on a bunch of different projects and commissions to build a portfolio so I can go back to college for graphic design and illustration!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
Puttavon: Ah! Good question to ask a Seattlelite. However, I'm actually one of the very few who do not take coffee at all! I prefer my tea. Jasmine, please.
Patterson: Oh gosh! It changes with the seasons! But I'll always love a good ol' 8 oz. soymilk latte.

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