In Hebrew the name Naava means lovely and Naava Katz truly lives up to her name. The expression of love is a theme for Katz who has a passion for creating emotional and inspiring art about children and motherhood.
Katz has been drawing since she was a child. After attending art school, she spent a decade as a graphic designer. Katz went back to graduate school with a goal to work in media for children. She then worked as a website producer for Scholastic and one day had an epiphany and became an art teacher.
“Never in a million years did I think I would stay home,” says Katz. The entire time she was pregnant and after the birth of her children, she found she was more creative than ever. “I had always drawn things in the moment I’m in. When I was a teen, I drew a lot of cartoons about teens. When I became a mother, I drew about being a mother.” Katz took photographs of herself with her daughters and then drew them. “It helped me process the experience in a much better way,” says Katz. She then posted those drawings on Instagram and people started noticing and she received requests for commissions.
When both girls were in school Katz had the time to learn more about women in business and the world of licensing. She started submitting art to Minted.com and sold a greeting card to Target. She now has a line of greeting cards at Trader Joe’s.
Then she started taking commissions from families. “I fall in love with every family that I get to draw. The stories these families tell me are so profound,” says Katz.
Social media helped Katz spread her art. Instagram posts of her portraits have caught the attention of people like Rachel Zoe, Mena Suvari and Nancy Pelosi as well as countless others. “Someone said this is the best time to be an artist because of social media. I have been drawing my entire life and in the past you would put it on your refrigerator or under your bed. Now within seconds you can share it with the entire world,” says Katz.
Katz has started taking commissions for holiday cards. “It was a way for me to do something I love,” says Katz. “It’s not something they just keep in their homes. They send them out to their friends and family and now all those people get to hold my art in their hands in a very personal, sentimental way. It’s always about deep emotional connections and relationships.” From the experience of putting the cards together, this led her to a new avenue she’s pursuing of custom stationery that includes portraits of people. Katz has already done this as gifts for her children’s friends and new babies. “Handwritten notes are so personal. I especially love the idea of putting a portrait of the child on the stationery.”
Katz’s father, a professional artist and photographer who worked in the fashion district had a great influence on her creative life. After he passed away, Katz imagined what it would be like if he were alive now and how he would interact with her girls, Talya and Shira. She drew it and that gave birth to her idea for “In Memoriam Portraits,” another commission option.
Katz has learned a lot from her experience on her creative journey and has advice for artists of all types. “The most important thing to do is to find your voice and it’s also the hardest thing. Just be yourself so deeply with your art so there is no denying who you are. Trust what you are here to say.”
“I can’t believe that I have created a job where I get to draw every day–that was my childhood dream–and for my daughters to see their mother doing this,” says Katz. She is grateful for the support of her husband Ariel Simon, a teacher. “Artists are inherently insecure and second guess ourselves. I owe a tremendous amount to him.”
Katz isn’t sure of what comes next, but she is excited about taking on larger projects in the future.
It comes as no surprise that “love” is Katz’s favorite word. “I put the word love in the name of my business,” says Katz. “I felt that all the art that I do now are love letters to people from me and for people to give to other people.”
For more information and to view her work go to her website lovenaava.com.