For years, Nathan Ota has been pursuing new worlds, both dark and fantastic, to explore in his paintings. Ota has used his stand-ins – a blind bird, a drunk monkey, a one-eyed robot lost in the woods – to travel through dreamlands that hold fantasies and tragedies. Ota graduated from Art Center College of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration,1993. Ota currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design and Santa Monica College.
1xRUN Thru Interview
Birds of Play by Nathan Ota
1xRun: When was the piece drawn and created?
Nathan Ota: Started and finished in 2012.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Nathan Ota: This painting took me all together roughly 13-15 hours.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Nathan Ota: This is one of the few paintings where I used photo reference for the birds and went a bit more abstract with the background with a somewhat limited palette.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Nathan Ota: Because it’s the first print that I did with 1x Run of my own personal work!
1xRun: Describe Birds of Play in one gut reaction word.
Nathan Ota: Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!!!!
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Nathan Ota: I remember drawing a lot in my younger years but don’t think I took it seriously till I got into Jr. High school. I can still remember in grammar school, tracing one of the students while he laid on a big piece of paper and making it into Santa Claus for a banner in the hallways. I wouldn’t say that it was my start but I was always the one asked to do something that required drawing.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Nathan Ota: I remember tracing old comic book covers and rendering them. Maybe Spiderman? Too young to remember how old I was.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Nathan Ota: Too much to name but the earliest artists that I started following was Robert Williams, Frazetta and Olivia. It wasn’t until I went to college where art history classes really opened my eyes to a whole new world of art
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Nathan Ota: Again, way too many to list but to name a few, not in any particular order, George Bellows, John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth, Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Toulouse Lautrec, Egon Schiele, Jackson Pollock and it just keeps going on.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Nathan Ota: Yes, I have a lot of things going on, I have the TV on and I listen to music. Sometimes both at the same time. I listen to anything from jazz, punk rock, folk, alternative, sports radio and sometimes just completely experimental music. My studio is just a big table, an easel, a small radio with a CD player and 4 walls and a nice comfy chair to take naps between coats of paint. It’s a bit tight but I have to be in a comfortable environment and this is it for me.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Nathan Ota: I think the collaborations that I’m doing with Risk right now is pretty fantastic! It’s such a change of pace for me and love the size change and freedom that I get from doing them. I already see a change in the way that I paint.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Nathan Ota: I would love to experience painting with the first Neanderthal cave painters! Imagine how cool it would be to see them spitting red pigment on the walls and using their hands as stencils. I’m also very curious on how they look.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Nathan Ota: I think it was Jordin Isip. Love his work and yes, I still have them.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Nathan Ota: A piece from Glenn Barr.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Nathan Ota: Right know I’m just painting everyday! I have a solo show at La Luz De Jesus Gallery in November, 2012 with fellow artist and friend Bob Dob. First time bob and I are having solos together. Should be a great show! Also still collaborating with Graffiti artist Risk on future shows upcoming.
1xRun: Where can people find you across the internette?