Natasha Stoppel’s thirst for travel and adventure seeps into her illustrative and whimsical ink drawings, watercolor pieces and wood-burned jewelry. Also known as Artist Explores the World on her blog and social media platforms, she tells small stories through her artworks of landscapes contained within animals, a collage of ink-drawn cats and cascading waterfalls painted on bamboo earrings. The places she has visited whether backpacking solo through Asia or exploring the canyons and mountains of the United States, are a part of her when she speaks. Her intense passion feeds her artwork, giving her compositions movement and life.
As a New Hampshire native, Stoppel’s studio is located in Exeter’s Art Up Front Street, an inviting space for artists to practice their craft. Yet, Stoppel’s artistic roots spread further as she graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia with a major in animation. Subsequently, after leaving her commercial job at Raytheon, animating, modeling and texturing for military defense video games, she began her worldwide adventures while creating art and writing travel articles along the way. To any aspiring artists, writers or travelers, she advises to just go for it because “you’re only going to grow if you force yourself to keep working all the time, keep pushing out material and keep pitching.”
Stoppel is an example of this determined mindset, as Stoppel is always creating. She is currently working on a drawing project called “Tiny Planets,” based-on the popular Photoshop technique of manipulating a photo landscape into a circle and buildings or trees sprouting from it. She noted that “each planet is influenced by one of the places I’ve been and I also put little elements of fantasy like if this temple in Japan had some sort of mythical creature what would it be.”
This blend of realism and fantasy is also evident in her other works like bamboo earrings dangling down in the shape of a beehive, wood burned with a fluttering bee and her watercolor work of animals like a hummingbird and owl painted in a colorful and ornamental style, inspired by Alebrijes or the mythical folk art sculptures of Mexico.
Her major artistic endeavor at the moment, however, is the school bus that she and her husband, Cory, purchased to convert into a home on wheels and artist space for Natasha to travel through Canada, the Northwestern Coast, U.S. National Parks, and, hopefully, Central America, together with their cats. While on the road, she plans to continue crafting and selling her art online. As a videographer for Exeter TV and a YouTuber as well, this new journey has challenged her creativity already in her videography skills to create exciting takes on bus building projects like removing the seats and stickers on the outside.
Step inside Stoppel’s studio at Art Up Front Street’s Open Studios this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to meet this adventurous artist and see her work in person, along with many other artists’ galleries and tour a sugarhouse to learn how maple syrup is made.
(Art Up Front Street is located at 120 Front St., Exeter, New Hampshire. It is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. during its usual hours of operation. Follow Stoppel’s art on Instagram @artistexplores_travelstories, travels on @artistexplorestheworld and bus life on @artistexplores. To watch her art process, subscribe to Artist Explores on YouTube and to keep up with her bus conversion and travels, subscribe to Artist Explores the World. Shop her art at ArtistExplores on Etsy and read more on her blog at artistexplorestheworld.com).