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GET TO KNOW

NATE RENNER


 1. Are you originally from Memphis? If not, what brought you here?

I am a born and raised Memphian. I grew up moving all over Memphis and Fayette County. I Went to five high schools, and left briefly to go to college.

2. What is your favorite part of living in Memphis?

Memphis is a weird amalgamation of cultures. It basically is surrounded by rural America in every direction within 2-3 hours. It takes years for things to catch on here. Everyone in this city is hustling to make it in some way. This creates a mentality of me first, which almost makes it impossible to work together to achieve our personal goals. I embrace that. I think that when nobody gives a fuck it pushes you harder and just weeds out the people who aren’t built for it. If it wasn’t for Memphis, and the deep mix of culture I have received here, I don’t think my work would have a place in the current state of Art.

3. When did your current practice begin?

I took some time away from Art when I was kicked out of college. Lack of space will really force your hand when you like to paint larger than most people. About 2 years ago I had a friend here in Memphis that lent me a small amount of space in his downstairs shotgun duplex. I finally had an Idea of how i wanted to make art that fit all of the contemporary and historical models of two-dimensional work, and more importantly a space to do it in.

4. Can you tell us more about your process?

My process involves taking an analog drawing tablet, drawing the image digitally in a way in which the computer “manipulates the line”, then I either re-draw that line on the canvas with paint, or I make a silkscreen and print. No matter which way the process ends aesthetically, it always end with the analog-digital-analog transformation of the form of the lines presented in the imagery. This part of the computer really is important in my work. I feel like if the modern art giants would have had access to what we have access to, they would have been exploring this dynamic of having zero’s and one’s dictating aspects of their process.

5. What is a typical day like in the studio for you?

There is a lot of staring. When I am working on something I really like to just sit down with it, about 5-10 feet away, and just stare. I’m one of those people who like to create something almost fully within their head without sketching the idea out. I focus on the aspect of making your eye move fully around the painting more than just about anything else in the finality of the painting. So for me, once I’m in the studio, I’m either staring, or painting. Developing some new studio practices in 2019 that hopefully will carryover into the future.

6. What themes or motifs are you drawn to?

I’m currently really into pattern and repetition. I just got back from NYC and saw the Warhol retrospective. I never was a fan of Warhol when I was an uneducated artist in college, but at the retrospective I saw correlations between our work that I wasn’t able to see in books and photos. I noticed I am going down the same path mentally with this art that it seems he went down with his. I saw some pieces that looked like I could have made them. This scared me at first, and made me think I should stop with this direction. I then coped with the idea that no contemporary is really thinking of anything new anyway. So now I feel moved to keep taking it as far as I can and hopefully pick up where he left off. This theme of repetition is the modern human. We wake up and repeat the same shit day in and day out until we die. We repeat the same mistakes, the same art, fashion, cultures, and we find the beauty in it. You can almost say we are biologically trained to find pattern and repetition aesthetically pleasing.

7. Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?

I’ve seen a lot of work. I love museums. Anytime my wife and I can get out of town we are going to a museum. I would have to say the first work that really captivated me in person would have to be “ New Hoover Convertible” by Jeff Koons. They are these plexiglass boxes illuminated from the bottom with a vacuum inside. It created the strangest feeling inside of me. It reminded me so much of our mortality, the future, and what it meant to be an artist during our short time on this planet.

8. What or who influenced this body of work?

I am actively trying to make work that personally reminds me of my life. I use imagery that inevitably relates to those who are also from the south, so by default there should be a commonality that connects the viewer and I through experiences.

9. What were you reading / listening to / watching while developing the work?

I listen to a lot of Rap. I believe at the time I was listening to Xavier Wulf, Ye, Young Thug, and occasionally throw in some “ outlaw country” ( old country songs about getting stoned and drinking).

10. Whose work is currently on your radar?

Buster Graybill is destroying, and Stacy Kranitz is capturing amazing photo journalistic shots of the rural south.