Word Balloons: Norse gods, Old West are subjects of Oklahoma artist's work | News OK February 12, 2015 14:17

Article originally printed at newsok.com|
Word Balloons: Tahlequah-based artist Natasha Alterici will have a showing of her new fine arts works at Planet Dorshak
in Oklahoma City. She also has a new comic that will go on sale at the show.
by Matthew Price Published: February 6, 2015

Tahlequah-based artist Natasha Alterici will have a showing of her new works at Planet Dorshak, 3003-A Paseo St. An opening reception will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.

The art in the show focuses on the Old West, with a twist.

“I’m calling this collection of works ‘False Grit,’” Alterici said. “It’s a kind of a disillusioned exploration of the American frontier. Wide open spaces and the pioneer spirit, but stripped of its romance, shown without the veil of nobility. Humans stubbornly fighting against nature, destroying it, altering it, evolving from it, surviving it all the same.”

But for her new comic, which will go on sale at the show, Alterici has gone even further back in time, to the era of the Vikings.

Alterici has worked with writers Jackson Compton and Sterling Gates previously, but for her Viking story, “Heathen,” she served as the writer and artist.

“The biggest thing I’m working on is ‘Heathen,’ a comic I’m writing and illustrating, which follows a young Viking woman on a mission to take down the Norse gods,” Alterici said. “It incorporates traditional Norse mythology and legendary figures, for which I had to do a lot of research, and incorporates them into a thoughtful adventure story.”

Gaining recognition

“Heathen” is being published in its initial form by local publishers Literati Press. Charles Martin, founder of Literati Press, praised Alterici as one of a group of artists gaining recognition in the Oklahoma comics scene.

“Natasha is among a group of ambitious and hyper-talented artists that are preparing to change the way the world views Oklahoma,” Martin said. “If we can keep creators like her, Dorshak Bloch and Jerry Bennett inside this state, then we have a chance at creating something really special.”

Since illustrating the comic “Lucid,” in 2013, created with Oklahoma-based writer Tim Berry, Alterici has made art her full-time career.

“I’ve had clients from all across the country, mostly from just stumbling across my work online,” Alterici said. “It is at the same time a source of pride and humility to have someone say they like your work enough to hire you for their own project, and I am very grateful to everyone who’s taken a chance on me.”


Branching out

Literati and Alterici have been part of a comics scene in Oklahoma that’s shown growth over the past few years.

“I’ve only just started participating in the scene a couple years ago,” Alterici said. “I was sort of working in a vacuum, not putting any work out, just sort of trying to figure out a path when a friend invited me to SoonerCon. Since then, I’ve collaborated with several talented locals on comics and illustration projects, and I’ve branched out to do craft shows — where I like to do quick, on-the-spot sketches for people, and now actual full exhibitions. So I would say the scene is hopping.”

Literati, meanwhile, plans a long list of prose and comics for 2015, including releases by Clint Stone, Bloch and Don Rosencrans. The fifth issue of the anthology “Literati Presents” is set for April, with the theme “What the Stars Must Think of Us,” Martin said.

Alterici continues to work locally, while submitting comics work to larger publishers, as well.

“I’d like to get one of my comics picked up by a big publisher, and just be able to dedicate myself fully to that one project,” Alterici said. “Right now, I live off commission work, so projects like ‘Heathen’ I have to do in my spare time between the paying gigs. I like doing commissions, but I’d like even more to have a steady schedule. And in addition to that, I’d like to do more fine art shows in galleries around the state and farther even. Full-time comic book artist/writer, part-time fine art painter.”