Nathalie Edenburg is a contemporary Brazilian artist, model and jewelry designer based in São Paulo, Brazil. She is also the artist behind our Mindful Intimacy Card Game. We sat down with her to talk about her creative process, sexual wellness, partnership and intimacy.
Your art is heavily centered on the female form. What calls you to it? What about it inspires you?
The history of art has always been full of female representations. While many artists praised the female figure, these representations have little to do with women themselves. They’re actually the male gaze over the feminine world.
Not so long ago, only men exercised the craft of art, while women played more passive roles as muses or models for men to make their paintings.
I seek – through curvilinear and biomorphic forms of aesthetic that unfold according to the spectator’s gaze – to bring a free vision of the feminine universe, manifested by a woman, to symbolize the sacred, the mystical, thus establishing a connection between the feminine and nature.
We eventually left the roles of muses to occupy the active roles of creators. Female representation became at once free and empowered. With representations of women as masters of their sexuality, it has been possible for the world to get to know women through their own eyes.
How was the art-making process for Wonderlust? What inspired you?
The process was exciting and challenging. It’s important to have fluidity when you create paintings with Indian ink, because if you stop and think, the lines would no longer be spontaneous. So it was necessary for me to fully immerse myself as I developed 69 paintings.
I took my materials to a farm in the countryside of Brasília [the capital of Brazil] and painted compulsively until I produced 69 paintings that I liked. I was in a flow that made it impossible to predict what would come out of it, so I painted more than 150 to choose 69.
The sensual and erotic theme made it more natural, given that my work already encompasses naked bodies and a certain eroticism. I think Natassia [Wonderlust’s founder] thought of me to do this series because she was already familiar with this characteristic in my line of work.
I had a few sources of inspiration, like the Kama Sutra. Before starting to paint I researched a lot of erotic designs, positions, drawings of couples, so that those images would stay in my head when I picked up the paint brush.
Making art is a very intimate experience. How do you get in the headspace to let yourself go and be immersed by it? Do you have any rituals or processes?
Yes, many! Creativity is a mental state, it doesn’t come out of thin air. It’s necessary to reach it. There is no manual for this, as each person has their own way of connecting to their creative state. Absorbing inspiration from other artists is always stimulating for me, like going to museums, exhibitions, and conducting research.
Another aspect I find extremely important in the creation process is creative idleness – yes, to not do anything (which is actually very hard to do in this day and age). But for me there is nothing that stimulates my creativity more than staying home alone, listening to classical music, with my art books, reflecting, thinking and experimenting ideas.
What does sexual wellness mean to you and how do you incorporate it in your life?
Sexual wellness for me means experiencing sex through the lens of self-knowledge and naturality, which in turn exudes well-being and quality of life. I believe that our sexuality is completely tied to our happiness and exercising it has a direct impact on our self-esteem. I seek to connect to my sexuality and break taboos imposed by society, which over time has placed sex only in a promiscuous or shameful light.
If you could give one advice on intimacy and relationships, what would it be?
I’ve always believed in three pillars for a healthy relationship: love, respect and companionship. Love unconditionally. Respect your partner, their opinions, their space and don’t try to make them become who you would like them to be.
As for companionship, to love is to give, to cheer for them as they cheer for you, it’s having them be present in your life, with your friends, your family, as you are in theirs. I don’t think a relationship works when someone only lives the other’s life and abandons their own.
What do you love most about your relationship?
Germano [my partner] is a man I admire a lot, in every aspect. He is very generous, respectful, considerate, a true companion. I always seek to learn from him. Watching how he treats others inspires me. He gives a lot of himself and is the least selfish person I know.
It’s normal to have our individuality, I certainly do, and we can often think more about ourselves than of others. But with Germano, someone else’s happiness and comfort is always more important. Having a partner that I admire inspires me to seek growth, and this kind of relationship is what I have always asked for.
We have a soul connection, always learning with one another, always following our best paths and helping each other out. This is what I find to be one of the most beautiful qualities of a marriage, to grow and evolve together.
What is your favorite way to spend time with your partner?
Traveling, at home, at the beach, practicing a sport, listening to music on the road, cooking, in bed, in the bathtub, playing a game. Everywhere, in every moment, being with him is a gift.
What is your love language?
I tend to be more cautious in the beginning, so those who don’t know me well can find me to be serious. But after I start trusting someone, I give myself completely and am very affectionate. I show my love all the time, with compliments, hugs, kisses and playfulness. I love being embraced, sleeping in his arms and spoiling my partner. In this way, I express all of my love for him daily.