“This is so foreign to me,” Natalia Piluk remarks as we stroll up to the trendy St. James coffee shop, Soul Brew. She has never had her paintings on display before and was initially hesitant to put price tags on some of her most beloved pieces.
Upon our entry, most of the servers recognize Piluk and immediately inform her how well a reception the paintings have already gotten and it’s only been a few days since she hung them. Saturday, September 9th, is the official opening night for her collection, complete with live music at the coffee shop.
I turn to order a smoothie when I hear someone approach Natalia. A young woman asks how much for a small watercolor of camels single file under a desert sunset. “I’ve always been obsessed with camels, I’m so excited,” the woman exclaimed as she handed the young artist a couple of folded up bills. The staff that knew Natalia immediately began clapping and cheering – her first official sale. She beamed but her innate shyness shone through. Interactions like this do not come as naturally to her as her gift of art.
When I first met Natalia, her paintings lived propped up along the walls of her small, bright studio, beneath canopies of English ivy and string of pearl plants. A paint-splattered yoga mat lay center, evidence of hours of work spent painting beautiful, seductive, and diverse women, some even resembling Piluk herself. Scenes of foreign lands could make you nostalgic for places you’ve never been.
All art is an expression of oneself but the best art doesn’t need an explanation. It invokes a feeling within you and speaks to your soul.
Now at Soul Brew for the entire month of September, it’s no surprise that she’s already made several sales. After all, she did win the superlative of best artist in high school despite never taking a formal class.
Pulik says that the best part of this new opportunity has been the enthusiasm of her friends and loved ones. “I’m so excited for Saturday,” she says, “but I don’t think I would be if I didn’t have so much support.”
Venture out to Soul Brew in St. James on Saturday, September 9th from 7-10 pm to celebrate local art and a talented, budding artist over some brews and tunes.