Photos of Natalie: Brian W. Fraser
Photos of Words Meet Walls: Natalie Reece
Something You Didn’t Know When You Started
There is going to come a day when you’re going to wonder if you still want to do it. You’re going to wonder if it’s bringing you what you want. I wasn’t expecting that day, so when it hit I felt really confused. How could I think about giving up this thing I love? I sat with that thought and, of course, turned to quotes to help me understand. I found a quote that said, “When you get tired, learn to rest. Not to quit.” I realized it’s okay to question what you do. In my questioning, I found my answer. I can’t imagine my life without Words Meet Walls, but I can imagine my life continuing to grow with it. So that’s just what I’ll do. Grow as it grows. Change as it changes.
What Made You Begin?
In 2016, I was working in a sales position in San Francisco and was very unhappy in this role. The biggest pit was that this job lacked the creativity I craved. I had just read Elle Luna’s book, The Crossroads of Should and Must, and I saw on her Instagram that she was about to launch an initiative called The 100 Day Project, which encourages people to do one creative act a day for 100 days straight. While brainstorming what could I do for 100 days straight without getting sick of it, I thought, I love quotes, I have pretty good handwriting and I live in one of the most colorful cities in the world. I would say that was the birth of Words Meet Walls, but the wild thing is, I had seen this vision of Words Meet Walls at some point years prior, but I never acted on it. It wasn’t until that moment in 2016 that it came back to me and came to life. I did a few quotes, shot against a few simple walls and then showed my roommate. When I showed her, she said, “This has wings.” I really felt in that moment that I had created something that was about to take flight. Also, side note, my wonderful roommate, Lauren, was the one who named my account.
Some of the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
A few years ago, I was sitting next to an older man and a younger woman in a coffee shop. From what I perceived, the woman had asked him out for coffee for advice and mentorship. I felt like I had lucked out in being sat next to them, because I too was receiving invaluable advice from this man. One thing he said that has come back in my mind from time to time was “You have to go full force at something without worrying if it’s right or wrong.” I’ve had moments where I’ve become indecisive out of fear that what I’m choosing won’t be the “right” thing for me in the long run. In some of those moments, this piece of advice comes back to me and I remember to go full force and not to worry.
Life Inspo + Traveling Light
When I started Words Meet Walls, I had a word that I was trying to live my life by, and that word was “light.” During that period of time, the greatest lesson I learned was that when a decision is right for me, it feels light. When a decision is not right for me, it feels heavy. I continue to use this as a way to determine if what I’m doing and exploring is right for my soul.
Find your Flow
To be truly productive, I need to be present and in the right mindset. When I do this, my work flows out of me. However, I have had spells where it feels like it is hard work to get the words onto paper. In those moments, I keep going and pushing. I know that there are going to be times when it’s going to feel like it’s hard to create, but those times will pass. Although, there are some days when it just doesn’t work and a quote drifts into my head that says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use in being a damn fool about it.” (W.C. Fields) I pretty much have a quote for everything, don’t I?
Yoga can change your life. Around the time that I started Words Meet Walls, I also started practicing yoga. It feels like they came into my life at the same time to push me into a new transformative period of my life. Yoga has brought me incredible stillness, and in that stillness have come many amazing epiphanies. One thing I’m looking to pursue this fall is yoga teacher training. I love how Words Meet Walls connects and inspires people, and I feel that being able to practice and teach yoga would give me that same type of rewarding feeling.
Instrumental Piece of Advice
My mom, who passed away when I was 18, was always rooting for me to find and be myself. I remember right before she passed, I was starting to develop my own style, and I could tell how proud she was of that. In my teenage years, I definitely worried too much about being like everyone else, and so when I started to develop a look that was more individualistic, she was relieved. She always told me that you can’t make everyone happy, and you can’t make everyone like you, so you might as well be yourself. My mom also taught me the importance of finding the humor in everything. My dad passed away when I was five, and although she was grieving, my mom instilled in me and my four siblings a sense of humor. I am so grateful for the way she taught us to laugh at life.
The 411: Natalie Reece is the creative behind Words Meet Walls, a project that blends calligraphy, quotes and street art into one impactful shot. When she’s not making art, you can find her doing yoga, reading, traveling or exploring New York City.