Face Of Malibu By Johanna Spinks

Dominique Navarro is Face of Malibu. This month, painter Johanna Spinks sat down with artist, author and Emmy Award-winning director Dominique Navarro, an expert in Egyptian archeology.

Dominique Navarro is an artist, an author and an Emmy award-winning art director. She began her career working on science and history documentaries for television. After a decade and an Emmy Award, she transitioned into forensic art, which led her to archeology and finally to where she is today — producing nature and science guides and books on Egypt’s wilderness for the American University in Cairo Press. The foldouts are printed in Egypt and available worldwide.

Born and raised in Malibu, Navarro has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. She spends half the year in Egypt and half the year in Los Angeles.

The Malibu Times got a chance to sit down with the woman who uses art to contribute to society.


When did you first find interest in archeology?

In 2011, I went to Egypt after the revolution. I was working at an ancient tomb with an American archeology group. That’s how I got hooked and interested.


What do you do as an epigraphic artist?

Six months in a year I work as an epigraphic artist. We document ancient temples and tombs to preserve for posterity because all the monuments are in a state of decay. We are trying to preserve it.


Tell me a little about the AUC Press Nature Foldouts you are currently working on.

We are working on a second adult coloring book right now. The new one is about Tutankhamun (King Tut). It’s going to be a traveling exhibition. The first one is on sale at the Getty Villa.

We have a total of 10 publications that I’ve done with them. I work with Egyptologists, ornithologists and paleontologists, to make sure the science information is legitimate.


What is something about Egypt people don’t know?

There are so many different species of birds in Egypt because of the Nile River. There are so many birds that use it as a migration corridor that goes from Europe to mid Africa. A lot of birds stay over for their wintering. It’s fantastic. Some of the birds that we have are the white stork, Eurasian crane and the ibis. You see so many birds flying over the river during the migration. So, the foldout teaches a little more about all the species.


What did you win an Emmy Award for?

I did television for over a decade, primarily focusing on science and history documentaries. I won an Emmy for outstanding art direction for “Big History,” an all-encompassing history show.


What does the process of training to become a forensic artist entail?

I worked in television and film for a long time. I worked around a lot of forensic artists and that’s how I got interested in that. It takes your art skills so that they become a tool to contribute to society. I started studying forensic art for about five years. I had wonderful teachers, including Betty Pat Gatliff, who is a pioneer in forensic art, and Karen Taylor, who is also a pioneer and wrote the essential book on forensic art.


Of all the work that you’ve done, which one is your favorite?

The Nature Foldouts. It’s been such a pleasure to work on something that is so educational and contributes to environmental awareness. It shows Egypt in a different way and explores different times in Egypt. It’s not just old monuments; there’s another side with an incredible environment — mountains, river, desert. There’s so much more to Egypt than its ancient history.


What’s an interesting or unique fact about you that people don’t know?

I’m too shy to show my work.


What is your favorite thing about Malibu?

I’ll always come back to Malibu. We’re so lucky and fortunate to be here. The environment, the ocean — it’s an incredible and unique place.


How was it having your portrait painted by Johanna Spinks?

So wonderful. She works so hard. She’s so prolific and dedicated. I absolutely admire her. As an artist myself, I want to do more portrait work.