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Meet Raquel “Rocky” Natalicchio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raquel “Rocky” Natalicchio.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Driven by curiosity, when I was young, I began to explore and learn about film photography through disposable cameras and classes at school. Early on I took very raw images, the streets became my classroom, tunnels below the city, downtown rooftops that hovered above, the abandoned train stations, houses left splattered in graffiti and the people who filled the spaces in between. I spent every day and night out exploring and shooting, teaching myself how to transform these scenes and moments that inspired me into a narrative. Not only did I want to share my experiences, but I also wanted to inspire that very same curiosity within my community to go out and explore their city.

The rise of Instagram made this sharing possible. This communication made me want to speak through my images even louder, I wanted to reflect the experience of exploring and discovering that the streets showed me, so I organized several shows in DTLA featuring my art and invited other artists into my shows to offer different perspectives while blending different audiences. My insatiable curiosity quickly partnered up with my passion, and I tirelessly sought out and funded my own stories and shows. From that hard work I have now shown throughout the US such as Miami Art Basel 2016, Photo LA 2017, Los Angeles Center of Photography, “Her” honoring Women’s Month with the City of Los Angeles 2017, Frieze Week NYC 2017, Tribeca Art Fair NYC 2018 and won best in show with Art House NYC in 2017. My work has also been published in national and international magazines, local and online news sources such as DTLA Times and CNN. Inspired from my passion for education, I am also a teaching artist, developing a photography curriculum centered around self-love that I teach teen girls ranging from 13-18 in after-school programs such as Las Fotos Project and Ruckus Roots in Los Angeles, CA. In September of 2017, my first book was published, ‘Spray for Peace’ , a compilation of inspirational stories and messages from LA graffiti legends to the next generation of young street artists. This year I am traveling nationwide with Road Trip Nation as an ambassador, speaking to college and high school students about career exploration by defining their own road in life by focusing on their passions and interests.

Please tell us about your art.
I believe in the power of image and story as having the ability not only to inspire but also expand our awareness. Images allow us to dive into all the layers of our world and gain a greater understanding of our environment and each other. Images serve as tools to educate, motivate and liberate. They also are a place where worlds can be created, and the future imagined.

The world I am creating through my images is a world propelled by hope and free creative self-expression that inspires rising action when faced with challenges. As a photojournalist, more often than not the stories I cover are centered in the telling of a calamity or injustice. It is important to be educated on what the issue is, and it is equally important to me to show what action is being taken that is creating a solution to that very issue. My hope is that this perspective inspires us to work together to creatively eradicate the chaos and injustice that is present in our world today, and alchemize hope into long-lasting peace.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
For a long time up until very recently, my art did not bring me financial prosperity. It did, however, bring me excitement and joy. With that as my inspiration, I worked odd jobs in production, in restaurants and anything that would pay my bills and afford me the time to create. I was selected to be in major shows and published internationally all the while having less than a hundred dollars to my name. I was building a strong platform for myself by dedicating every spare minute I had to take the necessary steps to get closer to my dream. It takes a tenacious spirit that is willing to work long hours and find opportunities all the while staying true to their art. There came a time for me where those odd jobs began to take away energy that I wanted to fuel my art, and I decided to take a leap of faith, trusting that the net would appear when I jumped. It did, not solely by chance, but because I decided to trust 100% in my art and my ability to make it happen. You are the architect of your life, put everything into it, take it seriously and design it the way that will bring you the most joy.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can follow me on adventures through my Instagram @RockMyWorldRocky and also receive updates on where I will be showing next. My work is being shown most often in galleries in Los Angeles and New York City. I have also recently published my first book, ‘Spray for Peace’ , a compilation of inspirational stories and messages from LA graffiti legends to the next generation of young artists, which you can find alongside my work on my website

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Raquel Natalicchio

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