@studiocatherine Not in the slightest! Our printers just require a little extra time.
You might just recognise him from his acting roles on a couple of Australian TV shows or have heard of him from his writing and directing, but Nathaniel Kiwi is now spending more time at his easel, focusing on another talent he possesses… painting. His art resume is currently looking pretty flashy, as he’s been involved in a mix of creative art projects over the last little while.
His successful Sydney-based ‘Creative Kicks’ exhibition played with the idea that you can know someone by the shoes that they wear, which then led to an invitation to work on the 25th anniversary campaign for Nike’s Air Jordans (in the room of a six star hotel, where else?). His art has appeared in both Semi-Permanent books in 2010 and he now finds himself exhibiting his latest series MACRO/micro at Art Sydney 2010.
I caught up with Nathaniel to find out how he made his foray into the painted world, what keeps him inspired and creatively active and what advice he has for other emerging artists to break into the art world.
Nathaniel, you’ve worked as an artist, a writer and a director. Do you work full-time as an artist or do you still divide your time between the different jobs?
At the moment I’m flat out with painting, so have the inclination but not the time to focus on writing and directing. Earlier in the year, though, I directed a couple of episodes of a behind the scenes series that followed Wil Anderson on his recent tour – that was lots of fun.
When did you first realise that you could make a career from your art?
I’ve been involved with the arts, mostly performing arts, since my early teens, and from a very early age was determined to make a career out of it. I’ve always had a natural aptitude as a draughtsmen and a painter, but earlier on I preferred the more kinetic experience of acting and performance making. As I matured my creativity found it’s way into writing and directing, and seems to have come full circle now in painting. I’ve always seen myself as a creator of ideas rather than belonging to any one discipline or art form. Some ideas work better in a short film, some better in a painting.
Your paintings exhibiting at Art Sydney (from your MACRO/micro series) use simple objects to talk about larger issues. What inspired you to produce art with a socially conscious undertone?
I’ve always held a firm stance on topics of social injustice. Most of my work in the film/tv has been comedy based, so hasn’t offered me a suitable forum to effectively voice my opinions. I really just felt that I had something to say and a way of expressing it, and it would be a shame not to use that opportunity. I try not to make my work too prescriptive in terms of a message or what it’s saying and try to keep it a little ambiguous to allow the viewer to determine their own meaning – someone might see some of the work as bemoaning cultural imperialism and someone else might just see a bunch toy soldiers and everyday objects in humorous tableaus.
Two of your artworks, ‘Look At Those Dead Bastards’ and ‘Therefore I am, I think’ have been selected to appear in both Semi-Permanent books for 2010. How did that come about?
The content of Semi-Permanent is selected from submissions – so I just submitted and was lucky enough to be included in both editions.
Can you tell us about your recent exhibition, ‘Creative Kicks’. Where did the idea for the project come from?
At the time I was looking for a way to combine portraiture and still life in a show. I know a lot of very talented and accomplished creative professionals and thought that a show of portraits of these people would tie the show together nicely. I was reminded of the old adage, “You can tell a person by the shoes they wear”, and thought I’d paint each subject’s favourite shoes as a compliment to their portrait and as an insight into their personal taste and style. It worked nicely. In one room I had the portraits and in the other paintings of the subjects shoes. As a bit of audience participation I challenged the viewers to match the shoes to the subject, which proved more difficult than it would seem.
To celebrate Nike’s 25th Anniversary edition of Air Jordan’s, you were selected to work on an artwork for the event. How did it feel to be working on such a massive brand?
I’d developed a bit of a relationship with the guys at Nike after Creative Kicks (they had very kindly kitted me out), and we we’d chatted about collaborating in some way. The event was awesome. We were put up at the Pallazzo Versace on the Gold Coast and I spent the day working on a painting of Jordan in my suite. I then finished the work in situ and it was later presented as a prize to one of the attendees. After that experience, I now insist that all my commissioned work is completed in the suite of a 6 star hotel….seriously.
What generally inspires you and your work?
Everything! I’m constantly writing down/recording any inspiration I have; colours, imagery, iconography, conversations, themes, issues that I would like to explore or incorporate into my artwork. I then have a go-to resource of ideas that fire me up.
What advice do you have for fellow artists trying to get their work noticed?
Make work that you’re proud of and push it at every opportunity you get., Being involved with initiatives like stART at Art Sydney is a great way for emerging artists to showcase their work to the largest possible audience, alongside established artists and galleries.
Selected artworks from Nathaniels MACRO/micro series will be featured at stART at Art Sydney 2010 from 11 November 2010 – 14 November 2010. Check out the website for more information.
All images copyright Nathaniel Kiwi.