In Dialogue with Artist Nathaniel Hendrickson

I came across bold and imaginative abstract paintings and emerging culture installations of Nathaniel Hendrickson. Nathan also plays role of a performer and curator on certain occasions and events. A graduate from Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, he’s an MFA candidate from Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. His works have been exhibited and curated in many galleries.

This short conversation below offers insight into Nathan’s works and his views on contemporary art scene:

Please tell us about yourself:

I was born in the United States and have lived most of my life in Louisville, Kentucky. I went to Bellarmine University for my undergraduate degree and am currently in my first year of graduate school at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Tell us  about your relationship with art. What were your earliest works like and how do you view your evolution as an artist?

My earliest work was done primarily in journals and consisted of line drawings of somewhat recognizable things in pencil or crayon. In my second year of high school I discovered painting and it totally changed my life.

nathaniel hendrickson1I found in your CV about your role as curator/performer/collaborator in certain events. Are you still a part of some art creative or collectives? If yes, does it help an artist grow?

Getting involved in something is exciting, unpredictable and something every artist must do at least once. In my senior year at Bellarmine University, my Contemporary Art professor Joey Yates asked if anyone in the class would be interested in volunteering for ‘Land of Tomorrow’, an experimental project space in Louisville, Kentucky. I was the only student in a class of over twenty to get involved. The two years that I worked there allowed me to meet artists and creative people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and offered me a unique vantage point that I wouldn’t have had if I were simply a visitor. Whatever it is that you are interested in, becoming a participant will change your understanding of what it is as well as what it takes to do it. Working with other people, negotiating personalities and learning how to work together is important if you are setting out to do anything greater than yourself. That being said, when it comes to my work nowadays, I consider it to be primarily a solo operation. This seemed like a necessary change of pace for me, as I had been growing tired of moving other people’s art around. Yet, had I not had that experience, I wouldn’t have had the perspective that I now have about the space that I would like to occupy with my art. My goal now is to simply continue with my work.

nathaniel hendrickson2How do you get into creative mode and what keeps a creative block away?

The hardest part is just starting the next thing; the rest takes care of itself.

Do you feel that contemporary art scene is governed by money?

There are many contemporary art scenes, I guess the problem for any artist is knowing what options there are and figuring out how to create alternatives if what you want isn’t already out there for you. Sure some art is governed by money but that doesn’t have to be its raison d’être and it certainly doesn’t have to weigh in when you set out to make something you want to make.

nathaniel hendrickson3Please share your favorite stuff or influences: artists, books, quotes, films, music etc.:

My favorite artist at the moment is probably Philip Guston, although there are many others that have influenced me.

I don’t really have a favorite book but I do read quite often (I’ve recently been interested in the writings of Michael Taussig).

A film that I watched recently and enjoyed very much was Black Orpheus.

And the band that I most often listen to is The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

nathaniel hendrickson5 nathaniel hendrickson6All images © Nathaniel Hendrickson : Website