Interview: Nate Williams

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Die Illustrationen von Nate Williams: ein Reigen überbordender Farben, zusammengehalten durch kraftvollen Strich. Gleichzeitig modern und ein wenig retro, erwachsen und kindlich, verspielt und doch klug. Mit anderen Worten: sehr schön.

The Art

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Diskursdisko: Hi Nate. To start things off, how do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or method that you adhere to?

Nate Williams: I create textures and line drawing by hand .. India ink, sharpie markers .. mixing oil and water, salt, baking soda and vinegar .. etc… and then I scan these elements into the computer and resize them .. put them in new compositions and color them…

Diskursdisko: What inspires you?

Nate Williams: My son’s discoveries, music, big cities, exercise, new environments, jungles, deserts, sky, lightning storms, connecting with people, good food, night, sky scrappers, good view, beautiful women.

Diskursdisko: Your artwork is extremely colourful, with many elements and characters coming together to create a joyous vibe – how did you develop this style?

Nate Williams: During my first year of college, I got a job at a copy shop where I had access to many different types of Xerox machines and computers. I loved that I could mass produce my art and share it with people, but not every copy was always identical. Some were smeared with toner ink; others with artifacts left from dirty photocopy belts. I dug those unpredictable imperfections. I assumed I picked up this appreciation for rough, bold, black and white images somewhere in my childhood. Maybe from looking at the black and white photocopied punk posters and flyers stapled to telephone poles around Berkeley or/and it could be the huge Mexican influence in California, specifically the bold wood printed day of the dead art and wrestling posters.

online_security-lAfter working at an advertising agency, I was hired by Microsoft as a web designer and eventually became an art director, marketing high-tech video games and managing the art direction for Xbox.com. Everything was 3D rendered and highly polished. All our marketing efforts were extremely strategic. In that kind of hyper-corporate environment—where ROI (return on investment) is king—finding a way to measure a campaign’s success is extremely important. We ran usability tests, held focus groups, reviewed eye tracking studies, analyzed statistics, tracked youth macro/micro trends, and much more. It was all very interesting. But still, I felt we put far too much emphasis on things that were easy to measure, and not enough on things that were less calculable and more intuitive—things that live on the subconscious level.

And so, in response to this deliberate environment, I launched my own zine. Hola Amiga was about doing exactly what I wanted—for some or absolutely no concrete reason at all. And it was about not having to explain why I did what I chose to do. It was about nurturing and exploring the subconsciousrealm, all in a very low tech way.

Then I decided to take it a step further and not only apply this approach to my art, but also to my life. I decided to make a huge change in my life and invest in the less tangible things like learning a language, living in another country, learning about history and nature, and most of all, just having the free time to experience, think, wonder, and discover.

juggler_sun-lWhen working for clients like magazines or companies, how do you keep up the balance between clients’ wishes and concepts and your own need to produce art? Do you feel there actually is any difference between “commercial” artwork and other art?

The creative process from commissioned work vs. personal work is very different .. with commissioned work .. I get the assignment .. take a notepad .. and take the subway around the city, sit on park benches, take random buses etc .. this is my way of brainstorming .. and by putting myself in new environments .. I think of different analogies/ideas for the assignment.. come back .. post the super rough pencil sketches online .. the client .. picks an idea .. or gives feedback and then I create the final piece.

With personal work .. I have moods .. sometimes I feel like making music .. sometimes I feel like painting .. sometimes I feel like programming or learning a new medium (currently video stuff) .. My personal stuff is usually more about playing and discovery .. rarely do I have a grandiose Idea that I just need to execute.

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The Web

Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at n8w.com, any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?

Nate Williams: I have a mailing list, and am also on flickr.

Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?

Nate Williams: I get most of my info from subscribing to artist’s and web sites RSS feeds .. here are are some web sites I check: Fecalface, Illustration Mundo, Drawn, Drawger.

The Future

Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?

Nate Williams: I am starting to create “collections” for art licensing. I would like to do more over-sized silk screen art shows.

Diskursdisko: Nate, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?

Nate Williams: Thanks so much for interview and interest in my work.

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Vincent Wilkie hat diesen tollen Beitrag verfasst. In seiner Freizeit ist er Musiker, Webdesigner und DJ.

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