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CHOPPING BLOCK: NATHAN OTA

There are few things more humbling then when an artist comes back to release more prints on wood with us and none more amazing then Mr. Nathan Ota.

We are thrilled to announce an upcoming timed release of On My Mind by Nathan Ota.  This 3/4" thick, 24" x 24" square print on bright white finish for $250 will debut on Wednesday, July 16th around noon PST.

This week we were able to grab a few minutes from Nathan to ask him questions about life, art, teaching and why he is called a "hard-ass" by his students.

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Whiplash by Nathan Ota

POW: Geometric shapes seem to appear in many of your works, including “On My Mind.”  Was this born out of your early graffiti days?

Nathan: Although geometric shapes appeared in my early works as graffiti artist, the box that appears in this painting and reappears in others derived from the idea of being confined in a box, my studio.  Most of all my work gets done within the 4 walls that make up my studio and always thought of it as a comfortable safe space where I can be creative and not bothered.  I do still use elements that appeared in my early works as a graph artist like drips, bubbles, clouds, circles and sparkles.

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On My Mind by Nathan Ota

POW:  I read that your passion for traditional arts did not come quickly, it wasn’t until college that you really started to get “inspired by the masters.”  Why do you think you were resistant to traditional arts at first?

Nathan:  I was always intrigued by popular culture and even though the traditional arts was always looked at and admired, artists like Olivia, Robert Williams and Street Art kind of took precedence over the traditional.

POW: Was there a moment or a particular artist/teacher that ignited the passion for traditional arts in you?

Nathan: Yes, it wasn't until I took Art History in college where the stories and the backgrounds of the artists were talked about where I really started to take an interest.

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Early Bird by Nathan Ota

POW: It is interesting that you credit your college years as the most formative years of growth as an artist/illustrator, and now you dedicate so much of your time to teaching.  Is this a coincidence?

Nathan: I never thought I would see myself as a teacher.  I'm a really quiet person by nature and it all came unnaturally at first but when I started to realize that these students really wanted to hear and learn what I know, then it became a little more comfortable.

POW: In student reviews, your classes are described using the words: demanding, challenging, rewarding, A LOT of work, hard-ass, helpful and fair.  But every review gave you high scores, does this surprise you?

Nathan: I take teaching very seriously. The ride I took in my college years was so strenuous, serious and demanding but it trained me to be a professional with good work ethics.  When I get students that think what I do is simple, I get offended by that.  Those are the ones that I have the most trouble with.  This is not a field that you can let up in, one day you can be hot and the other, totally forgotten.  That's a scary thought and what I try to teach them is to stay hungry and always thrive to do better.

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Fuzzy Egg by Nathan Ota

POW: If you could say one thing to an aspiring art student, what would it be?

Nathan: Be very passionate with what you do.  Don't forget that this all started with a love to create.  If you can make a living doing what you love that's great but if you can't, will you stop creating?  I think every artist should ask themselves that question, students or not.

Pop!-Goes-the-WeaselPop! Goes the Weasel by Nathan Ota

POW: We are excited for the upcoming Prints on Wood release of “On My Mind”, which originally debuted at your La Luz de Jesus solo show in November, 2012.  Can you tell us more about this piece and why it was chosen for a print on wood release.

Nathan: This was a new type of piece for me.  I'm always getting people telling me to do a female character, this one was my answer to that.  It also got a lot of attention at my show.  This print will be printed exactly the size as the original and am really excited to see how it all comes out.

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On My Mind will be offered as a 6 day timed release of up to 50 signed and numbered prints starting on Wednesday, July 16th around noon PST and continue until Tuesday, July 22nd at noon PST.

For more information on Nathan, please visit his website at:  http://www.nathanota.com/

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