The push and pull of Nate Finch

Nate Finch, a visual artist based in the Adelaide Hills, possesses a unique talent for seamlessly transitioning his work from walls to canvas.

Known for his remarkable large-scale mural projects in both public spaces and for private clients, Nate Finch’s art embodies expression and energy. His artistic endeavours are characterised by a profound exploration of colour, texture, and the skillful integration of various mediums.

Throughout Nate’s artistic journey, his passion, willingness to experiment, and unwavering dedication to his craft have been constant driving forces. In this exploration of Nate’s career, we delve into his humble beginnings, the sources of his inspiration, and his relentless pursuit of personal growth by venturing beyond his comfort zone.

Can you tell us about your artistic career and how you arrived where you are today?

As far back as I can remember and evidence shows even prior to that, drawing has played a huge part in my life. 

My work first started to enter the public eye around my mid 20’s in the form of mural work. I soon found myself doing projects not only for myself, but also private clients. By this stage I had already begun working in abstractions on canvas but not quite in a non objective manner, I was experimenting with different mediums and techniques, searching for something. 

In 2015 I undertook a Bachelor of Visual and Creative Arts from Adelaide College of the Arts and Finders University full time majoring in drawing. Here I was introduced to experimental ways of drawing or mark making, process driven work that I fell in love with. By the end of my 4 years I had combined this with my painting practice and started making large-scale works on canvas utilizing different mediums. The continued experimentation of mark making brings me to the work I’m producing today.

What inspired you to pursue a career in art, and how has your artistic style evolved over the years?

I don’t know if I ‘set out’ to be an artist, it always starts as a hobby of sorts. When we do something we enjoy, it gets the endorphins going and begins to become a calling, or a spiritual thing. In essence, I do it because I have to do it. It keeps me centered and happy within, it makes me feel like I have purpose. 

The more I studied pure abstraction and the nonobjective, the more I was kind of drawn down the rabbit hole. I feel the unknowns of abstraction, the kind of problem solving nature opens it up to unlimited options and possibilities which in turn leads to endless outcomes. No set rules or set techniques allow you to work in a non-precious type of manner. 

I love the push and pull, the adding and taking away, the revealing as you’re concealing of working through a piece to find a composition that feels ‘right’ to me. The search for rightness! These unknowns are what continues to keep me excited every time. 

Could you share some of the highlights and challenges you’ve experienced as an artist?

In terms of highlights, being invited to exhibit at BMG Art here in Adelaide was both an exciting and humbling experience. To be among that stable of artists, to be exhibiting work alongside of these artists is a surreal experience every time. Artists I look up to and studied at college, some of whom have now become colleagues, to receive compliment and critique from these people is something I could never have imagined, these continue to be ‘pinch yourself’ moments for me.

Perhaps one of the challenges when starting out is dealing with the impostor syndrome that comes with all of this. I know many artists struggle with the ‘Am I good enough?’ thing. The constant pressure to produce better and stronger each time. But that’s all subjective really. I understand that everything has happened due to the work you have put in and a series of events that you have built towards and worked up to, it has happened because you made it happen. It’s a ‘you are the architect of your destiny’ type thing.

How do you balance your artistic vision and expression with the demands of the art market or industry?

I don’t think the demands of the art market have had much of an impact on my creative vision, (I certainly would not profess to understand the workings of the art market!!). I’ve always stuck to my guns about making what I want to make, the way and scale that feels right to me. 

First and foremost, I’m making art for my own personal satisfaction. If people like it and want to purchase it, fantastic!, but that is secondary. I’ve always wanted my work to act as wall murals for the indoors, I’m aware that the large-scale nature of my work is catering to a limited clientele. 

Recently I’ve made a conscious decision to scale down somewhat in the hopes of reaching a wider market, perhaps making the work more obtainable, at the same time I continue to work at the scale that excites me and feels right.  

What role does your local community play in your artistic practice, and how has it influenced your work?

Although my work is non objective, I know it is influenced by my surroundings and the day-to-day experiences of being alive. It’s something I struggle to explain in words, how my local surroundings or a trip I’ve been on can have an impact on how I work or the outcome produced. But just as I feel a calling to work, I have a similar calling to journeys to remote locations. It seems to act as a kind of reset, how that is translated visually is hard to explain but notedly I come back home reinvigorated and enthused to create new work. 

Can you discuss some of your most significant exhibitions or projects to date and what they meant to you personally?

It’s easy for one to say their last exhibition was their best to date. I do feel my most recent exhibition at BMG Art in April of this year alongside the bronze sculpture and etchings of my old friend Chris Ingham was my strongest body of work to date. 

I felt each piece was as strong as the next regardless of scale. I was very happy with each and every piece I exhibited in that show. Our work seemed to blend nicely together and having the opportunity to exhibit with not only an old mate but someone I’ve always looked up to as an artist, he showed me early on it was possible to make some sort of career in making art, I think this exhibition will always remain as a significant memory to me.    

How do you approach the exploration of new techniques, materials, or subject matters to keep your work fresh and evolving?

I really try not to have any type of game plan when starting a new piece, there’s no sketch or study. I allow the work to inform itself. By that I mean each move or mark I make or color I choose will indicate or give a clue to how the next should be. At the same time I try to use an energy which is spontaneous and direct. 

There’s a definite emphasis on materiality, texture and mark intensities play a huge part in my overall compositions. Unlimited combinations in color harmonies are there to be explored and used. 

What I feel is quite important to the work being fresh and ever evolving is that when I find a formula that works I will perhaps explore that a few times in different ways, then steer right away from that and work in a completely different way to get out of any type of comfort zone. 

I don’t want it to become easy, I very much don’t mind if there is evidence of a struggle. I don’t see any point in going through motions that I know will work, there’s no challenge in it.  

What are your aspirations for the future, both in terms of your artistic career and the impact you hope to make through your art? 

I have just had three pieces selected to be exhibited in the Royal South Australian Society of Arts Abstract Prize. I will be showing one or two pieces in the BMG Art Winter Group Exhibition. 

Moving forward, I will be looking for more opportunities to exhibit work, making some new connections to exhibit interstate and abroad is where I’m at presently.

Revisiting large-scale mural painting is always in the back of my mind. I’m still trying to iron out how my canvas work could translate on a multi story scale with all its textural aspects intact.


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