15 Artists Under 30: Natalie Shields

This is the third year we’ve run our New Visual Artists: 15 under 30 issue. What was once a highly edited list of 20 of the best and brightest young designers is now a deeper exploration of 15 of the most original talents working in visual communications today.

This issue of Print comes at an interesting time. This new group of designers, while undeniably adroit, is part of a generation fully proficient in the art of self-promotion in a digital age. Getting the word out about one’s work is now de rigueur. But at a time when new work is relentlessly blasted out on platforms where seemingly everyone in the room is shouting, is it really possible to break through the volume of voices all vying to captivate and capture attention? Moreover, in the Insta-culture of the early 21st century, how does one navigate through the metadata to find the meteoric? As in years past, that’s exactly what we’ve sought to do here. We’ve gone in quest of craft and cunning ideas and ideals. We’ve looked for substance and style and star-power. The list of Print’s New Visual Artists has become a who’s who of the industry’s leaders, and includes Scott Dadich, Eddie Opara, Alan Dye, Jessica Walsh, Jessica Hische, Frank Chimero and, more recently, Zipeng Zhu, Joe Hollier and Joey Cofone. This year’s 15 New Visual Artists are bold in name and in voice, and are bravely making new work in a new world.

“New Visual Artists giving print CPR.”

Meet New Visual Artist Natalie Shields

Natalie Shields

Age: 24.

From: Seattle.

Current city: Brooklyn, NY.

Education: Rhode Island School of Design; BFA, graphic design.

Earliest creative memory: Being very proud of a horse that I drew in preschool. I’ve looked at this drawing since then and it’s essentially a misshapen circle.

Path that led you to design: In high school, I kept the majority of my artistic inclinations under wraps. However, I was obsessed with Martha Stewart and loved baking. I got my first DSLR camera and started documenting what I made, gradually getting more into food styling. I was known to bring in treats the day of an exam that was destined to be particularly brutal as an attempt to console many of my classmates afterward. While I don’t really bake anymore, I was clearly leaning toward what I now recognize as some of the elements of graphic design: manipulation of color, texture, composition, and so on. Much of my portfolio when applying to art schools was pictures of cupcakes.

Career thus far, in a nutshell: Graduated from RISD in 2015 and worked at a studio in Manhattan until the spring of 2016 while working on my first book, Love, Floppy Disks & Other Stuff the Internet Killed. Moved to my current workplace, Doubleday & Cartwright/ Victory Journal in Brooklyn. My second book, Loving Football When It Doesn’t Love You Back, releasing September 2017, is a mix of photography, illustration and prose on the connections between athletics, physicality, femininity and violence—the complicated dynamic of loving something which treats you poorly.

Natalie Shields

Natalie Shields

The key to good design: Only listen to yourself.

Motto/design philosophy: We’re here for a good time (not a long time).

Work of which you’re most proud: Originally my degree project at RISD, Love, Floppy Disks & Other Stuff the Internet Killed. What began as a research and collecting process over three years, the book developed as I started combining anecdotes from my own adolescence with the voices of male and female rappers, anonymous posts on confessional apps (Yik Yak, Secret, Whisper) and demographic data regarding what’s wrong with millennials. The book composes a portrait of a generation that feels a lot but doesn’t know what to do with these feelings. Born in Seattle in 1993, I belong to a generation of young adults who grew up in tandem with the internet. Millennials—conditioned participants in virtual romance, fantasy computer game worlds and robot companions—are supposed to be overstimulated, hypermediated, unable to connect. For them, is love—like the floppy disk—a symbol of something now defunct? Is love now a cipher—something that used to exist and has become pure abstraction? Or is it actually the opposite? Is the idea of love so omnipresent in millennials’ cultural discourse that they have monumentalized it? What is it about love that the internet killed?

Biggest influence: Punk flyers.

How you would classify your style: A jock signing your yearbook.

Design hero: Raymond Pettibon.

Favorite artist: William Eggleston.

Cause that means the most to you: Well, right now, I think the work Colin Kaepernick is doing with Know Your Rights is excellent and important.

Biggest fear: Silly one: sharks. Real one: watching all my friends and family die.

What you want to accomplish before all is said and done: Squat twice my bodyweight.

Your idea of happiness: Not feeling existential dread for 10 minutes!

Website: www.natalieshields.co

Natalie Shields Natalie Shields Natalie Shields


Meet more of PRINT’s New Visual Artists in the Fall 2017 issue of PRINT.

PRINT’s 2017 New Visual Artists Are Here!

Get the latest issue of PRINT to discover our annual list of 15 of the best creatives today under 30. Plus …

  • A look at the rebranding of an old industry made anew: marijuana 
  • A Manifesto from Scott Boylston on the dire need for sustainability in design
  • Paul Sahre’s memoir/monograph Two-Dimensional Man
  • Debbie Millman’s Design Matters: In PRINT, featuring Jonathan Selikoff
  • And much more! 

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