Natacha Monnalisa calls her artistic style “abstract reality,” a blend of surrealism, realism, and abstract designs that convey feelings and ideas in a whimsical and fantasy-like manner. 

That style is conveyed in the cover art she designed for the Polk Museum of Art’s 2017 MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake, “Nesting in Lakeland.”

In addition to featuring a pair of Lakeland’s iconic swans, the artwork includes one of Monnalisa’s signature elements in the form of a dreamlike creature that serves as a swan’s nest. She says her creatures help her showcase life as seen through a child’s eyes, and they represent the unexpected.

“Last year was my first time doing the show and my first time visiting Lakeland,” Monnalisa says. “I was blown away by all the swans. They truly make the place magical. I want my piece to show non-Lakeland residents the beauty of your city.”

This Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native was happy to be invited to create the art for Mayfaire 2017.

“It is a great honor to be selected among many talented artists participating in the show,” she says.

This isn’t the first time Monnalisa’s work has been recognized in Lakeland. She won the Mayfaire Award of Excellence in 2016.

Monnalisa showed interest in the arts from a young age, and won several contests for children. She moved to Miami in 1990 and attended the prestigious magnet school program Design and Architecture, where she excelled at fashion design. Monnalisa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Miami in 2007, followed by a Master of Arts degree a year later.

 

Monnalisa lives in Waldo.