It is my pleasure to introduce artist Nathaniel Armstrong! You can find Nathaniel’s work in his Etsy shop and follow him on Instagram @nathanielarmstrongart. You can also contact Nathaniel directly by email to inquire about commissions.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with your art?
Hi, first of all thanks for the interview. I grew up in the state of New York in a city called Oneonta. Currently I live near Seattle. I remember being young and I would draw things occasionally. They were mostly surreal and fantasy pencil sketches, inspired by things I liked: Lord of the Rings and The Simpsons. If you pulled out my old sketchbook you would see a lot of people fighting with swords. These drawings were a lot of fun, but I didn’t consider it a career option really. I went many years without drawing or painting much until halfway through college. After nearly failing Chemistry 102 as a Geology major, I decided to pursue visual art genuinely. I have been making art regularly since then- about seven years.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
There are definitely weeks and months that I don’t want to think about making art. I want to mention how important music can be as an inspiration. The textures, compositions, and melodies in music are a natural companion to art. I like albums as a way of listening to music and if there is a counterpart in visual art it would be a “series”. There are times when I get excited about an idea and I want to make a series of five or twenty. It is nice to explore an idea and then put out a chunk that feels satisfying- something that musicians do really well.
What are your favorite materials and processes that you use in your work?
As much as I like drawing and painting, digital art is an exciting new tool. I usePhotoshop often as well because it allows me to do things I cannot do with traditional media. In the same vein, playing an instrument is another tool that has helped me challenge myself in a new way. But, there are a few different materials that I like especially. Black and white pens on tan or gray paper is a look I like. Starting with a medium tone paper is nice because I can work on highlights more directly.
What have been some of your favorite past or current projects or commissions that you’ve worked on? Do you have any in the making?
One of my own favorite projects is a series of small house drawings. I got carried away and I made about twenty. They were all four by six inch ink drawings of houses. Some were houses that I had seen around town and some that I had made up. It felt nice to commit to an idea and pursue a lot of possibilities. Another example is a few years ago I bought some acrylic paint and canvases and I started painting regularly for the first time in my life. I gained appreciation for abstract art by failing to become a good painter. Trying to find realism in paint was a challenge for me; but, I painted at least twenty canvases.
As far as the future, I think it would be a great to make books, albums, videos. I would like to write stories and music and combine that with artwork in some way. Album covers, posters, typography, and animation are also formats that I hope to continue working on in the future.
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