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Interview: Nathan Walsh - Extremely Beautiful Cityscape Paintings

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British artist Nathan Walsh created extraordinary cityscape paintings.  He managed to combine architecture, painting and photography all into one.  His works are very detailed; full of texture and making hard to believe that it is a painting not a photograph.

As he said on his website "The work aims to create credible and convincing space which whilst making reference to our world displays its own distinct logic.  This space is created through drawing, which I see as fundamental in establishing a world the viewer can engage with."

Walsh was born in Lincoln, United Kingdom.  He earned Bachelor of Fine Arts from Liverpool School of Arts and earned his Master of Fine Arts from University of Hull.

His works have already been exhibited in Korea, London, Switzerland, USA and North Wales.

Walsh is now represented by Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York.  

23 Skidoo
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

Rockefeller
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

Can you tell us about yourself? 

Nathan Walsh: I’m a full time English artist who specializes in depicting the urban landscape.  I make very large scale paintings which celebrate world capitals including London, Paris and New York.  Although my work has been exhibited worldwide since 2005 I now show exclusively at the Bernarducci Mesiel Gallery in NYC.  Due to the size of the works I can only paint between two and four paintings a year. 

Drawing for 59st Bridge
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

59st Bridge
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery


How you got started in photorealistic cityscapes?


Nathan Walsh: Although I was aware of the photorealist movement which flourished in the 1970s it wasn’t until after I finished my Masters degree that I started making work that could be termed photorealistic.  ‘Photorealism’ is a loaded and complex term and was coined by Louis Meisel in 1969.  My aim for the work is for it to be as convincing as possible, but this is on its own terms.  Whilst online or in print the work may seem photographic in appearance the actual nature my paintings is very different. 

I enjoy travelling and being in new environments, and the starting point for work is always connected to this experience. 

Drawing for Carousel
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

Carousel
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

 

Can you share with us your creative process?

Nathan Walsh: Before I visit a city I tend not have a clear idea of what I’d like to paint, I just tend to amble around, very much like a Flaneur waiting for something to connect with.  When I do find something of interest I’ll take numerous photographs of a location and normally a series of thumbnail drawings in a sketchbook.  Of late I’ve found the sketchbook to be on increasing importance even for notes on colour or whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time.  This immediate personal response to the environment plays an important role when I’m back in my studio in the United Kingdom and reliant on the photographs taken.

Back in the UK I will sift though the raw material I’ve collected and make a series of postcard sized drawings which suggest potential paintings.  I pin these to the studio wall and live with them for a while, most get rejected but whichever one I eventually chose must have the most visual potential to make a dynamic full scale painting.  Once I’ve decided on the size of the painting I start to draw elements in a fairly loose and organic way.  Freehand drawing is fundamental to all of my work allowing me to take full ownership of photographic material.  Rejecting the mechanical transfer of imagery forces me to construct each object from scratch and allows for a fluid and inventive approach.  Fixing pictorial elements to separate vanishing points allows the construction of a space independent of both reality and any photographic record of the scene.  A shifting horizon line allows to viewer to look up and down into the space, and question their position in relation to the scene. 

Once the drawing looks coherent I will build up layers of paint in a similar fashion, editing and re-editing through colour and mark making.  The end result is a heavily worked surface which aims to maximise the potential of the paint, and present an alternative reality to our own.  Over the past three years the paintings have become more about describing particular weather conditions and atmospheres.  I can see this playing more of a role in future work where eventually the cityscape is just a stage to investigate the weather through paint.

Drawing for Evening in Paris
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

Evening in Paris
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

What inspires you?

Nathan Walsh: I have a very long list of creative influences from painters to architects and filmmakers. I think anyone who attempts to make something extraordinary gets my attention. 


Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

New York Reflections
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

Nathan Walsh: My favourite is painting is the last one completed which is a view from inside a cable car station looking out towards Roosevelt Island and Queensborough bridge in NYC.  Its the most complex painting I’ve attempted to date and combines interior and exterior spaces in an attempt to present a fully immersive environment.  Im always looking to develop and extend my practice and make more ambitious paintings.  I try hard not to repeat myself or even make work the same way twice. 

Hot Specialties
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery

NYC6AM
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery


What are you passionate about besides your work?

Nathan Walsh: Painting is an all consuming activity, even when I’m not in the studio I tend to be thinking about what I’m working on.  However I try to make the most of my time off, and enjoy the cinema, reading and travelling.

59st Bridge
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery 

Reichstag Dome
Art by: Nathan Walsh | Image courtesy of Bernarducci Meisel Gallery


What is your dream project?

Nathan Walsh: I feel very privileged to be able to make paintings as a full time occupation.  Its taken a long time to get to this position but in essence I’m involved in my “dream project” everyday.

Website: Nathan Walsh | Facebook: Nathan Walsh | Twitter: @nathanwalsh72