About Me

Hi! I’m Natasha Monahan Papousek. I’ve always been a creator at heart, making things and music, yet my family, concerned about stability, nudged me towards a more conventional career. So, I pursued a BA in International Studies at Earlham College, a practical choice. Journalism didn’t pan out after graduation, and I ended up doing secretarial work. Still, my creativity found outlets in hobbies like crafting origami jewelry and playing the fiddle in a band.

My artistic journey took a significant turn in 1997 in Austin, TX. My husband gifted me a henna kit for my birthday, sparking an irresistible passion for henna art. I spent six months practicing on myself, my colleagues, and anyone within reach. Soon, people began hiring me for their parties, and thus, Crescent Moon Designs was born. In 2023, it celebrated 25 years in business.

After moving to San Diego, CA in 2000, I continued my secretarial work but kept henna as a thriving side hustle. A major shift happened in 2012 when I got the chance to work at a body art kiosk in Seaport Village. This opportunity eventually led me to leave my day job and take over the kiosk’s lease.

However, when new management at Seaport Village doubled the rent in 2018, I ventured into a new realm with Poppyfish Studio, specializing in pet portrait collages. When the pandemic stopped everything, my art focus shifted from pet portraits to the beauty of the world right outside my door. I began to explore the flora and fauna of Southern California, and I still haven’t run out of inspiration.

Today, I happily balance henna gigs alongside creating painted paper mosaic landscapes and portraits of wild animals. I still love pet portrait commissions and also make hand-painted ornaments for holidays and special occasions.

In my spare time, I love experimenting with fabric art, paper-making, mono-printing, quilling, and playing the ukulele.  Occasionally, I sit still long enough for my cats to claim my lap.