Nathan Vincent: Artists that inspire -

Nathan Vincent: Artists that inspire

Nathan Vincent: Artists that inspire

Using yarn and crochet and fibre techniques Nathan Vincent has produced a beautiful body of work which has been exhibited at the Bellevue Arts Museum, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum to name but a few.

His work is highlighted in the book Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community by John Chaich and Todd Oldham, published by AMMO Books.

In this, our penultimate edition of Artists that inspire, Nathan discusses 5 artists he admires and the impact they’ve had on his art and practice.

Read’s interview with Nathan here

Ghada Amer

Ghada Amer, Shahrazad, 2009, acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas, 66 x 79 inches

Ghada Amer, Shahrazad, 2009, acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas, 66 x 79 inches

Nathan Vincent: I first ran across Amer’s work when I was studying in college. My mentor recommended I look at her work as I was embroidering on some paintings and had begun to utilise erotic imagery. He saw that there was some overlap.

I immediately took to her large-scale paintings that appear abstract from a distance, a reference to the machismo of abstract expressionism. Within the details of these paintings, you see she has illustrated females in autoerotic poses lifted from pornography and repeatedly embroidered with trailing threads so many times that the figures are distorted, but not invisible.

For me it seemed Amer was reclaiming these images, reclaiming the power of the male gaze, and subverting the scale and ‘strength’ of the 1940’s abstract painters with the use of thread. Her choice of non-traditional material to make contemporary art was exciting as it pushed the boundaries of genre in ways I was not used to seeing (Is it painting? Is it collage? Is it craft?) It was empowering to see an artist utilise erotic imagery that seemed deeper and more expressive than merely dealing with sexual desire.

I must confess that at first, all I did was emulate her work, a tactic used by many young artists to learn their craft and explore new mediums. But, it was through this exploration that I moved from embroidery to sculpture, which has felt more genuine and authentic for me.

For more information visit:

Jason Hanasik

Jason Hanasik, Sharrod's Bedroom Wall (Your Body and Your Spirit), Photograph 2008-2012

Jason Hanasik, Sharrod’s Bedroom Wall (Your Body and Your Spirit), Photograph 2008-2012

I also came across Hanasik’s work while in college. We were studying at the same school, but didn’t have any classes together. We ran into each other again several years after graduation and realised that we were both very interested in ideas of masculinity, how these ideas are formed, and how to create a new masculinity that is large enough to encompass multiple definitions.

Hanasik’s work is inspirational for many many reasons, but what I love most about his practice is how he has moved seamlessly between photography, collage, installation, appropriation, projection, essays and documentaries, video (including 360 video) and most recently, journalism. His lust for knowledge, experience, and exploration has allowed him to produce amazing work across mediums and he always throws himself 100% into each project.

I admire Hanasik’s ability to tell a story and immerse you fully as a viewer, offering a visual account that is both beautiful and moving. I always walk away from his projects with a more empathetic view of the subjects. His interest in the myths we tell, receive, and take on is compelling and has grown past culture’s obsession with gender and given us a fuller understanding of Hanasik’s viewpoint, but also the journeys his subjects have taken through life.

While my work has been focused on one medium and exploring similar topics through this medium, Hanasik has expanded conceptually and I’m always amazed and inspired by artists who are talented enough to make these jumps between ideas and medium.

For more information visit:

Caroline Wells Chandler

Caroline Wells Chandler, Big Red (The Bather), 2016, Hand crocheted assorted wool, 11 x 4 feet

Caroline Wells Chandler, Big Red (The Bather), 2016, Hand crocheted assorted wool, 11 x 4 feet

My world recently became much more ‘queer’ when I was chosen to take part in an exhibition called ‘Queer Threads’. My world view was much expanded through that experience.

I was introduced to Chandler’s work and was drawn to the bright garish colours, the playful treatment of complex issues around gender, and the direct interaction with art history. Where I have mostly worked in 3 dimensions, I enjoy the flatness of Chandler’s work, which forces you to think of it as a drawing or painting. And I love that the work is so tactile and textural that your eye bounces between the image and the surface.

As a trans artist, Chandler’s work is uniquely situated to speak to how we are completely ignorant of the norms of society as very young children. It’s not until we either see those around us behaving in set patterns, or have an adult explicitly tell us that we are behaving ‘incorrectly’ that we become self conscious and begin to second guess our behaviors, desires, and self expression.

That moment is fascinating to me, and I feel that Chandler articulates the emotions that come along with this discovery and the subsequent transition from comfort to awkwardness in an exciting and explosive way.

For more information visit:

Aaron McIntosh

Aaaron McIntosh, Bedroom Buddies, 2011

Aaron McIntosh, Bedroom Buddies, 2011

McIntosh creates much of his work using old magazines, printed and found fabrics, and quilting processes. He mixes and matches and combines these different techniques and materials into brilliant sculptures and collages that speak to desire, loss, and absence.

I feel an affinity for his work, maybe because we were both gay boys who grew up in conservative family situations, but also due to his elevation of craft. McIntosh challenges our nostalgic perceptions of quilting and injects a mysterious eroticism that seems focused on loneliness and isolation- creating high art of traditions and feelings that have oft been pushed to the side.

I’m very inspired by the community participation aspect of his current project, Invasive. As McIntosh travels throughout the South, he gathers stories of LGBTQ lives and incorporates them into the project. In doing so, he is engaging in under valued communities, bringing a sense of hope and joy, but also healing and hopefully positive exposure.

I am moved by this artwork that has such a strong social component and engaging with his work has broadened my own view of art making practices to include others’ stories as opposed to merely expressing my own.

For more information visit:

Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear, Old Mole, 1985, red cedar

Martin Puryear, Old Mole, 1985, red cedar

My first experience with the work of Martin Puryear was back in 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. This may have been the first major sculpture exhibition I had seen at MoMA and I was blown away by Puryear’s ability to use stiff wooden planks to create curved, elegant, organic sculptures. It felt that he was not merely forcing the material, but coaxing it to bend to his will. I was, and still am, in awe of his technique and expertise.

Puryear’s exhibition filled me with a desire to make work that feels finished, complete, and cohesive. I wanted to make work that embodied that tension between what the material is, and what it could be. It feels as if the wood in Puryear’s sculptures just makes sense in these new forms, and I have found myself striving for this in my own work. I’m inspired by his devotion to crafting objects, which is evident in everything he creates.

In addition to the finesse with which he completes his work, his visual vocabulary has been a huge inspiration to me as well. Puryear regularly utilises similar shapes, altering them, stretching or condensing them, butting them up against one another or switching up the material. This variety brings new ideas, new contexts, and new meaning to a body of symbols he has amassed throughout his career.

For more information visit:

If you’d like to read more about Nathan Vincent click here

Which artists inspire you? Tell us by commenting below.

Tuesday 26th, January 2021 / 20:42

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