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Pacific Dissent is a free online and print art magazine. On this blog you will find contemporary art and contemporary photography as well as interviews with these artists and photographers. 

PACIFIC DISSENT INTERVIEWS NATHANIEL RUSSELL

What feeling or idea do you think is better portrayed through your style or work? Is there something the two dimensional aspect within your pieces aids too, or do you just like it?

I think each thing i make has it's own idea or feeling specific to it, mostly they seem to be variations on themes of what it is to be alive, the weirdness and awkwardness of being a human being with individual thoughts and feelings, death, the funny and interesting ways things can look together, the way words sound and look and what they can mean together. Just how weird and funny and sad it is to be alive with a bunch of other people on a planet floating around in the universe. It's hard to articulate and I suppose that's why we make pictures. 

As far as the two dimensional aspect, I think it's just how I instinctively think about things. I'm drawn to making paintings and doing drawings. I'm not sure why. I also enjoy making sculptures and music but I think I've spent more time putting things on paper than anything else. It's pretty traditional and square in some ways, I guess. but we are what we are. 

Can you recall an instance when this train of thought seemed intensely clear to you? In reference to your thoughts on human individuality. 

I remember being a little kid and really thinking about being an individual human being with thoughts and feelings bouncing around inside of a body. It really made my head swim. And that we are all individuals wandering around by ourselves yet somehow connected to others through common experiences, emotions and just basic human-ness is pretty wonderful. I truly believe that we are all sprouting from some same basic place, that the earth grows a person like a tree grows a leaf. 

What was your initial motivation behind the series of fake books and fliers you made?

I spend a lot of time in used book stores and record shops and I get a lot out of reading titles and looking at covers and imagining what is contained within such things. I don't always want to find out, it's enough that it exists in whatever way i think of it. These fake books are all books that i wish existed, ideas that one could devote their life to individually. They are suggestions of paths to take and holes to crawl into.

As for the fliers, it started as a morning exercise to get out some ideas. Sometimes you see something in your head and you just need to make it so you can move on. And that lead to more ideas on that theme. And it was fun and exciting to send these out in the world, to put them up around town, to see where they ended up with no expectation of them being received as art. And now they are out floating around and they pop up in classrooms, on the internet, and in offices all around the earth.

Continued below...

Would you say you enjoy the process of creating your work more, or gazing upon the finished piece? And before you begin a piece, do you already have a thought of what it will become, or does it come to be during?

I enjoy making the piece the most. I may take a few minutes afterwards to look at it and kick my feet up, but then it's on to the next thing. Going to my own art show and just looking at all my own art sounds horrible. I'm too self-conscious for that sort of victory lap kind of thing because i feel like i will never be finished trying to get better at whatever it is i'm trying to do. I'd much rather be making things and getting new ideas out and onto paper. onward and upward. 

Are the shapes and ideas depicted in your work pulled from memory or imagination?

Mostly imagination, I guess, but then that all comes from memory and things i see around me, transformed by me brain and particular way of thinking about things. I try to get to the root of things, making something simpler and attempting to find the essential shape of a thing. I sometimes try to think of how little i can actually draw something and still get across this feeling.


You can see more of Nathaniel's work here on his website.

Instagram: @NathanielRussell