Portrait Of The Artist: Nathalie Kingdon

As her new exhibition ‘Walk On The Bright Side’ opens at our Borough Yards shop, we spoke to the artist about her effortlessly summery work, the skill of screen-printing and nostalgia.

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Have you ever noticed how the world gets just a little more carefree as soon as summer arrives? The weather warms up and it becomes lighter in the evenings, and it’s as if the weight of winter is lifted from our shoulders. That feeling ­– the free and easy mood of summer ­– is something artist Nathalie Kingdon manages to capture pretty succinctly in her screenprints.

And since the mercury has started to rise, it seemed the perfect time to showcase her “relentlessly optimistic” work. On the eve of her new show ‘Walk On The Bright Side’ opening at our Borough Yards shop in London, we spoke to the artist about why finding your medium is like finding your language, her daily routine and her roots in the South of France.

What do you hope people take away from your art? What are you trying to say?

I would love for people to feel energised by my work. I would like to put a smile on their face when they look at it. I would love to inject a good dose of happiness and lightness in their life, especially at the present time!


How does being an artist affect your outlook on life?

I am very grateful to be able to do what I do. I am always happy and excited to go to work – that alone is a real privilege. What is going on in the world at the moment terrifies me a little, and I think the more it does the more joyful and colourful my work is! Almost as a reaction to the general grimness. I have always had a taste for happiness which translates into what I do.

How do you feel while you’re working? What’s going through your mind?

I work and think differently depending on which step I am at. At home, I spend time flicking pages of vintage magazines, scrolling the internet or watching old series or movies to find images that trigger my imagination. I also spend hours modifying, cutting, expanding, and playing around with these images, shapes, and textures on photoshop. During this process I’m relaxed and aware. When I find an image, I like I am curious to follow the path, and when the images become an idea in my head, I feel excited to bring it alive!

At the studio, I expose my acetates onto my screens. I have built my own exposure system, as well as a large bespoke printing table, which gives me so much freedom. Exposing is a long process in itself: I coat the screen with an emulsion that I let dry. I then expose my images on the coated screen under special lights, wash off the emulsion, and let it dry again. During this process I sometimes ask myself if it will work, but I’m so involved in the actions that I thankfully don’t have much space to worry about that!

Some images are easy to expose on the screen, but some can be really tricky. I have to repeat this for each layer or image that goes onto my work. I then love mixing colours to find the yummy ones! Once the printing finally starts, layer by layer, applying paint with my squeegee, I see my idea come alive. Sometimes it matches, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s even better than what I had in mind. This step of the process is incredibly satisfying, it is when all the other steps pay off!

Nathalie Kingdon’s ‘Walk On The Bright Side' is open at Paul Smith Borough Yards from 6 July to 28 September 2023.

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Words: Molly Isabella Smith