The SoulShine Co. By Natalia Skeba

Natalia Skeba, the creative force behind TheSoulShineCo., embodies the essence of creativity as she finds inspiration in the small details of life, from the subtle hues of nature to the way light reflects upon surfaces. Her artistic path began as an outlet for her creative expressions while doing freelance work in Siem Reap, Cambodia. She later found herself in sunny Orlando, Florida, amidst the pandemic, where her passion for art blossomed into a full-time endeavor, filled with intention and purpose.

Our collaboration with Natalia extends her signature style to a new realm, allowing her creativity to flourish in fresh ways. It was an exciting challenge for her to translate her beloved motifs and color palette into wearable art, resulting in a collection that is captivating. From sheer strawberries to nature-inspired designs, each sock is a wearable piece of Natalia's soulful creativity. Whether you're drawn to her playful illustrations or her heartfelt messages, there's something for everyone to connect with in TheSoulShineCo's collection. 

What does creativity look like to you and how do you find inspiration? How do you incorporate creative processes into your everyday life and work? 

The act of creating and being in a creative flow is the closest thing to magic that I know. I find inspiration by noticing the little things; admiring nature, and opening my eyes just a bit wider, especially during the seemingly mundane moments. To me, it’s all about being perceptive to what surrounds me – colors, scent, texture, the way light bounces off anything... It is within the noticing and observing that creativity ripples into my everyday life and work. Inspiration often hits me at the most random moments, which is why I always have a notebook and pen on me at all times. I scribble down fleeting ideas and small observations. Sometimes they get turned into something palpable, while at other times they simply remain as an idea.

How has creating The Soul Shine Co. affected your worldview? How does it inform your creative practice?

To create something out of nothing, share it, and have it resonate with strangers in corners all over the world is something so special. Sharing any piece of work is innately vulnerable, yet what tends to follow is so freeing, and makes me feel more connected... That feeling in itself motivates me to continue to create and share!

Can you tell us a little bit about artwork/designs for the sock collection and inspiration behind it.

Creating this sock collection was such a fun process! My work is often shared in graphics online, or physically on printed goods, so it was an exciting challenge to shift that typical creative planning into creating wearable art. I wanted to be sure to keep my classic SoulShine color palette and motifs at the core of this collection, so I enjoyed sifting through my favorite designs and seeing them in a different light as I imagined them on socks. The collection that resulted is even dreamier than I expected!

What is your favorite style from your collection?

I love the sheer strawberries!

How would you describe your personal style? 

I have a palette of colors that I love and stick very close to – uncoincidentally those are the colors I tend to use within my work, too. I am rooted in nature’s tones, but also love to play around with pops of vibrant colors. I am forever inspired by the fashion of the 70s, love the ease of linens on a beachy coast, and stay committed to finding chic classics that sustain through trend cycles. 

What inspired your artistic path and where did you get started? When did you know you wanted to pursue art full time?

I have been artistically inclined ever since I was a child – my interests have always been in the realm of creative classes, scattered art materials, and generally anything that scratched the creative itch of my very right-oriented brain. I am grateful that I grew up in an environment that nurtured that. Pursuing art full-time felt like a pipe dream, especially because I did not go to college for art, and my previous job roles were all in the marketing realm. Funny enough, the pandemic is what gave me ample time and space to pour my heart into The SoulShine Co. It first started as an outlet to share my creations, but quickly turned into something bigger than I could have ever imagined. 

What subjects or concepts do you explore in your Illustrations?

I always say that I create what I need to hear and want to see. Oftentimes my graphics are paired with strings of words that serve as reminders to myself. It could be a phrase that eases my mind during tender moments, or a presence reminder when I catch myself spiraling. The motifs and imagery are intended to do the same; ease and inspire. My love of flowers is undeniable, and I also love to infuse elements of nature throughout my pieces. Basically, I want anyone consuming my art to feel like they are taking a deep breath of fresh air. 

What does your illustrative process look like? 

Most of my work starts as a doodle or scribble in my sketchbook! I then either digitize it into a graphic, or physically turn it into a painting. When I digitize my work I start by taking the sketch to Procreate on my iPad, I then vectorize it on Illustrator, and ultimately texturize it on Photoshop. As far as physical paintings, I have been really enjoying gouache and mixed media collaging recently.

Who are some of your favorite artists/designers and why? 

There are countless artists across all mediums that I admire! Classic artists like Hilma af Klint, Henri Mattise, Gustav Klimt, and Andy Warhol instantly come to mind for their use of texture, color, composition, space, and abstract shapes. Since words are woven within my work, I have a deep appreciation for type. A few of my favorite type designers are Scott Downey, James Coffman, Abbey Leighton, and VJ Type. I am very inspired by the works of multidisciplinary artists Tess Guinery, Teresa Freitas, Jasmine Dowling, and Luke Edward Hall. I also really enjoy discovering new artists and buying art when I travel, here are a handful of artists whose art I love, and have in my home:  Rachele Del Nevo (Italian mixed media artist), Pariwat Anantachina (Thai collage artist), Tamara Venn (Cambodia-based British painter), Devon Grimes (Brooklyn-based artist). It’s clearly difficult to make a concise list, haha!

Do you have advice for other aspiring artists?

Simply begin! The world needs artists, and the world needs YOUR art. Do not keep your work hostage for only your eyes to see – let your art live many lives. Comparison and imposter syndrome can stop you in your tracks, so try with all your might to shake them off when they inevitably flair up. Most importantly, find joy in the process, and be easy on yourself (in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that serious)! 

Do you have some inspiring quotes that guide you or that you live by?

Oh there are countless quotes that I live by – you can take a peek at my socials and website to see the phrases that dance around my head on any given day. I think the two that I often revisit are: “Accept the seasonality of all things, including yourself” and “Surrender to the process”. 

Before The Soul Shine Co, you had dabbled in freelance work , how did that start?

It started when I decided to stop hiding my art, and began to share my work! It sounds so obvious, but one simple act snowballed into so many beautiful opportunities. Prior to 2020, I was living in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Initially, I was helping a family friend establish, market, and run a business which demanded me to wear many hats. As time continued, and I became more connected within the community there, I started to take on freelancing gigs that allowed me to be more creative. The flexibility and joy those first few gigs brought upon was very enticing, and I continued to lean into that realm.

What do you find most fulfilling about your creative pursuits?

Being able to work /collaborate with incredible people and brands (Tailored Union included) has been incredibly fulfilling – I feel like I need to pinch myself when these projects come to life, it’s just so cool! On an individual level, it is so touching to know that my work has resonated with total strangers across the world… that also never gets old!  

Credit: @alexconversephotography

What should we expect to see from you this year, anything exciting in the works or any goals for 2024?

I am finally moving SoulShine into a studio space! This has been a longtime goal for me, and it feels so special to finally get to this point. I am hoping the new space brings more opportunities for special collaborations (especially local), and an overarching sense of creative freedom. Stay tuned! 

Where can people find out more about you?

Website link: TheSoulShineCo.

Insta Link: @thesoulshineco