Nathan Durfee is a fine artist currently based in Charleston, South Carolina, garnering notoriety for his captivating, pop-surrealist narratives and intriguing use of color. For our current show ‘Peopled Places,’ Nathan provided nine pieces in varying sizes, each displaying his signature squared-off brushstrokes, mysterious narratives, and an acute attention to detail in every aspect of the pieces’ presentation, from the perfectly poured resin to the decorative paper adhered to the reverse. We asked Nathan a few questions about his studio practice and life as an artist– read below for his answers, and see his work in the show through September 2nd.
- Do you have a “day job” outside of your art?
- What would you tell your younger self when you were first embarking on your artistic career?
Don’t get discouraged and don’t get cocky. An artist’s journey lasts their lifetime, so don’t base success on your current situation.
- How long do you usually take to complete a piece? Do you work on multiple pieces simultaneously?
It takes me about 1-2 weeks to complete a painting, but I’m usually working on 3 paintings at any moment. As I get more proficient at painting I can work more efficiently, but then I see more opportunities to add detail and techniques, so that slows down production. It’s always a balancing act.
- Do you use any unusual or “non-traditional” media in your work?
Although the majority of my work is oil on wood panel, I’ve experimented with a variety of materials. I’ve noticed a cycle: I’ll discover a new technique/material that I’m convinced will elevate my artwork to ‘the next level.’ What follows is a few weeks of failure. The new technique never lives up to my expectations, but I learn enough through the creative process to justify the struggle.
- What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
My iPad has become an indispensable tool in my studio. Whether I’m google image-searching for a yawning panda, using a drawing software to sketch various concepts, or playing a podcast while I paint, a day doesn’t go by where I’m not using it.
- Outside of the craft you are known for, do you pursue any other artist endeavors?
I’ve played the cello since I was When I was 12 I became the youngest member of the Castleton Youth Orchestra. I set my music aspirations aside to pursue visual art, but I still have a cello in the house that doesn’t get played as much as I’d like.
- What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve done a double-backflip on skis.
I used to work as a photo retoucher for a menswear company, but for the past 8 years I’ve been a full-time artist and illustrator.
Thank you to Nathan for participating in our interview! See several of his works in ‘Peopled Places,’ on view now through September 2nd. Join us for First Friday tomorrow, August 4th. For more information on Nathan Durfee, visit http://nathan-durfee.squarespace.com/.