Profile: Artist Nathan Bruce Interview
edited: Friday, August 25, 2006
By CONVERSATIONS MAGAZINE
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2006
Become a Fan
PROFILE: Artist NATHAN BRUCE
Education background: BA in Art from Belhaven College
Hometown: Jackson, MS.
Nathan, we appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. Tell us when you discovered your love for the arts and how it has developed over the years.
Thank you for being featured in your magazine. Well I think like most artists I developed an interest when I was a kid, maybe 7. I started with crayons and pencils drawing what I saw or trying to draw what I saw. I loved the way colors blend and create a mood, and changing a blank page in to something with depth. I just loved the ability to look at something and recreate it. Itís capturing a moment in time, but youíre also adding a piece of yourself to each work you produce. Itís created from your own two hands. When I was younger I would look at cartoons and comics and try to draw the characters and scenes. I would draw and just sketch in my free time. In college I met artists with different styles working in strange and new mediums that broaden my idea of what art is. Art is the expression of the artist; it can be seen and felt. I began working with different mediums and tried experimenting to combine techniques to see what worked and what I could really do. This is something I continue to do. I always try to keep experimenting.
When you look at the work of other artists what separates your work from theirs?
Well in my work, Iím concern with details. I want the finished piece to be true to the original. I try to focus on the angle. I love having a strong perspective with a scene. It adds energy, motion to a piece. I try to look at the subject matter with ďnew eyes.Ē In a landscape, I would look for a different way to show the subject. Maybe I need to tilt my head, look up or down at the subject, or focus on the light or shadows. The question is what do I see that no one else sees?
We all like to develop our own style, no matter what it is we do. How do you manage to hold on to your own individuality?
We all like to continue to grow and develop. Be better today than yesterday. You just have to remember your love for the art. I love the way colors blend, the way a strong piece makes you feel, and the photorealism of a work. Iím inspired by other artists and learn from them. But what I learn I apply to my own style. Part of art is the expression of the artist, my story. WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY?
Many artists enjoy the creative process but not the promotional aspect of shopping their work. What about you?
The creative process is fun. Itís exciting to see an image in your head then create it. The business part is a little tricky. Iím not a salesperson so I may miss some opportunities to promote myself. Itís really a matter of just saying what you feel. Iím more comfortable talking about my work now than when I first started. A lot of the work is done for you by a gallery, but you still should be involved in the process.
Over the years the arts have been seen as more of a business, rather than a hobby. Why do you think people fail to see the importance of the arts when it comes to cutting funds for artists or eliminating projects in the school system that are art-related?
In one way it tradition, art was always viewed as a hobby or only for the elite. Itís not for the average Joe. Art still havenít caught on with the people who make the big decisions. Itís not seen as profitable. Art can influence a person to think outside the box and believe there is an answer to a problem even if itís not seen. An artist believed a man could fly, and drew the plans for the airplane. Art helps bring the future into focus, if people saw that then there would be an increase in funding.
Up to this point what has been your most memorable professional disappointment? How did you keep it from destroying your vision?
Disappointment is sometimes a good thing if it pushes you to do better. My disappointment is that Iím not as accomplished as I would like to be. I had a show in 2003, my first solo show. I had a good turn out and sold some pieces, but not as much as I had hoped. It was a lack of promoting the event heavy enough and over estimating the turnout. It was also about finding my niche in the art market. I bounce back because I see my mistakes and I know I can fix them. Thatís kind of my motto, do better.
Along those same lines, what has happened in your career that told you that no matter what happens, you are going to fulfill your destiny as an artist?
I keep getting inspired to do more. There are still pieces that I want to create one day. I have to create them. I took a painting of to be framed at Nebletts and a guy in the store saw it and wanted to buy it right there. I was hanging that painting in a show so I couldnít part with it that day. He went on to buy the frame and the painting, left his information, and would pick it up after the showing. That was the first time that had ever happened. It was exciting. Art can truly have a positive effect on people.
What inspires you to create?
Everything, (colors, shapes, architecture) there is so much in the world to be inspired by. Everything beautiful you see in the natural world is a gift from God. Itís the handy work of the greatest artist ever and it inspires me to create too.
In Jackson, MS your artwork can be seen at Southern Breeze gallery. How did your relationship begin with them?
Well my college professor suggested that I start hanging some of my work in some galleries. I hadnít hung work in a gallery before so everything was new to me. I had heard about Southern Breeze gallery and wanted to find out more about them. I visited the gallery one afternoon to get a feel of the place and see what type of art they showcased. They displayed a variety of artists and mediums, but the most interesting part was that all the artists were from MS. I met with the owners Bill and Glen and talked with them. They set up a meeting for me to come again with some work. I showed some etchings of downtown Jackson and color pencil drawings which they liked and thought would do well in the gallery. Iíve being showing with Southern Breeze since then.
Do you feel as though being with a gallery has helped you when it comes to gaining credibility with art lovers?
Yes. A gallery helps give you exposure to an audience that may never view your work. A well known gallery is lending you their credibility (and helping you form your own) when you hang there. The gallery is respected and holds a certain standard; the artist that hangs there must meet those same standards. People can view your body of work grow and develop over time if you are consistently showing in a gallery. You become stable to the art community in the sense someone may want to invest in this ďnew talented artistís work.Ē
There are so many creative individuals in the south. What do you think would help other creatives become more supportive of each other and network closer together?
Try to elevate art to something more than a hobby in peopleís minds. That may be a goal everyone would be willing to work for. Forming a common focus like improving the arts in the south, whether it is raising money for fighting cancer or school art programs, or just how art can positively benefit everyone.
When it comes to your long-term goals, do you see yourself remaining in the state of Mississippi or do you believe you will have to travel elsewhere?
Well, for now MS is my home. I donít see a need to move, perhaps later down the road. MS is a beautiful place; I donít see myself leaving in search of inspiration or work. I would prefer that people in search of inspiration came here to find it. MS is always overlooked and last picked. We are renowned for great writers, but people forget about the artists. I would like to create masterpieces that would cause people to say, ďWill you look at what is going on down there in MS., we need to go check this out.Ē
Nathan, can you tell us what is coming up next for you.
Right now, Iím working on a couple projects in different medium, some of which youíll be able to see hanging in Southern Breeze.
Thanks again for your time. How can our readers find out more about you and contact you if they have any other questions?
You can walk into Southern Breeze gallery in Highland Village and look at some of my work or visit the gallery on the web at www.southernbreeze.net.