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Local Artist Puckers Up For Diabetes Research

The Manvel resident just needs one mouth and a lot of lipstick.

You could say Natalie Irish has kissing down to an art. Wearing electric blue lipstick that matches her hair, she's showing how she paints a picture by puckering up to a canvas.

"As you successively kiss after one application after one application, it gets lighter," she explains, bending over to demonstrate on a canvas in her home. "And so you can use that to your advantage for shading."

Some refer to Irish as the kissing artist, but she sees herself as a painter whose brushes are her lips. "It's all the same concepts of shading and proportion," she explains. "If you're going to draw a portrait with a paintbrush or a pencil or lipstick, you still have to know how to draw a portrait."

Her subjects have included pop icons Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix but she also paints landscapes and cityscapes. She's done projects with big name cosmetic brands and has even been a guest on the Conan O'Brien Show.

The 34-year-old Manvel resident stays busy traveling the world for events and festivals but she makes time for another passion: inspiring others dealing with diabetes. Irish was diagnosed with Type One diabetes when she was 18. She's appearing at the American Diabetes Association Expo at NRG Park this Saturday.

"These kids hear over and over again, ‘This disease doesn't define you and you can do whatever you want.' And I'm living proof of that," she says. "It's like, ‘No, you really can. I made up my own job.'"

Irish will be showcasing some of her work and letting fans create their own kissing art at the Expo. Lipstick will be provided.

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