Natalie Irish has Houston's most famous set of lips.
The subject of this week's cover story, Irish has recently grabbed the attention of the world by making portraits with her lip prints. She puts on lipstick, puckers up, and kisses a blank canvas until a famous person appears.
Confused? Skeptical? Ready to cry Photoshop?
She's for real. For our exclusive cover, Irish kissed her own image onto the canvas. Her videographer and friend Chris O'Malley filmed the smooching session:
Irish's past two videos, in which she lip-paints Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix, have blown up on the Internet. Her intimate process is the ultimate tribute to girlhood, and it's fascinated those from all over the world. Orders have been pouring in. Irish recently sold her first piece to a man in Malaysia, who proudly e-mailed her that he's the first in his country to own a "Natalie Irish."
Fame happened in a matter of days, and Irish's head is still spinning from being featured on Time and Jezebel and Joe Rogan's Twitter feed. "I still don't think I've comprehended it," she says. "It's insane. It's so insane."
Irish is an impressively prolific artist, especially for being a Type 1 diabetic. She practices in every artistic media she can get her hands on, and she strives to keep her chronic disease in the back of her mind. She never, however, intended to be famous.
But her husband Dennis Bateman, who is perhaps an even bigger feminist than his wife, always knew Irish's unique lip prints would make it big.
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"You cannot make your artwork masculine," Bateman says. "It can't be done. Are people going to copy what you do? Absolutely. Good. Who cares?"
"All the more flattering, right?" Irish chimes in.
"Nobody owns an idea. You can have an idea but as soon as the world knows, it's no longer yours. But from now on, if anybody else ever does this, it will be a woman."
Check out our cover story on Irish here.