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12 Questions: Nathan Von Braun


Nathan Von Braun, a Wisconsin native, is a distinguished artist who brings his natural talent to life through each piece of work. After studying at the renowned Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Nathan's career took off in the world of fashion and sports, with pivotal roles at prestigious companies such as Ralph Lauren, NBA, Champion, Under Armour, and Victoria's Secret. His artistic versatility spans a wide spectrum, from reinterpretations of the classical Vitruvian Man to modern, vivid underwater scenes such as "Cheeky." Nathan's work is a testament to his ability to traverse time periods and styles while preserving his unique aesthetic vision. For the past three years, Nathan has been meticulously preparing for his debut solo exhibition, the Zodiac Gala. This ambitious project reflects his devotion to the world of art and his ability to transform imaginative concepts into tangible masterpieces. What distinguishes Nathan is not just his talent but his passion for commissioned art. He thrives on the collaborative process, working closely with his clients to create bespoke pieces that encapsulate their individual dreams. In every project he undertakes, Nathan's primary goal is to create art that resonates on a personal level with his clients, bringing immense satisfaction and depth to his artistic journey. Nathan VonBraun's world is not just shaped by art, it revolves around it, a testament to his commitment to his craft and his audiences. Artist Statement: In my inaugural solo exhibition, "The Zodiac Gala," I aim to intertwine the worlds of fashion design and traditional art to reimagine and humanize the Zodiac signs. Drawing inspiration from my extensive background in apparel design, I've sought to glamorize and personify each sign in a way that helps individuals form a deeper, more personal connection with their celestial counterparts. "The Zodiac Gala" sprung from my observation of the often superficial associations people have with their Zodiac signs. I saw a missed opportunity to explore these identities in a more intimate and profound way, transforming abstract symbols into accessible, relatable figures. To achieve this, I incorporated live models into my creative process, capturing their energy and movement as a foundation for my Zodiac interpretations. Each sign has been reimagined as a life-size ink drawing, their traits and characteristics woven into their attire, posture, and expressions. I invite viewers to discover themselves anew within these works, to find resonance and personal narratives in the folds of the clothing, the curve of a line, and the gaze of each figure. Through my art, I aspire to evoke a positive emotion, a sense of familiarity and understanding that perhaps wasn't there before. "The Zodiac Gala" isn't merely an artistic exploration of astrology—it's an invitation to reframe our understanding of self, to deepen our connection to the cosmos, and to celebrate the diversity and complexity within each of us.

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

-Art, Money, Success by Maria Brophy

-The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz

2. What are you currently working on?

-Just wrapped up Pisces, the last piece of the Zodiac series. Next I will be completing a couple commissioned pieces.

3. How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure?

-Failure is inevitable and provides the best opportunity for growth/ change. I have had many failures that have shaped me into the artist and man that I am today. My favorite failure was a tibula injury in high school that put my athletic goals and dreams on the sideline. This injury is what caused me to begin exploring my artistic talents and changed the trajectory of my life.

4. What is your most unusual habit?

-I consistently talk to myself and practice scenarios in my head

5. If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why?

-Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. He is one of the best Baroque artists in my opinion, I love how he balances dark shadows against stark beams of light.

6. What is the most indispensable item in your studio/workspace/office? What is your studio like? Could you share an image?

-My easel, it has sentimental value. My studio is in my home. One of my guest bedrooms has all of my supplies and rarely do I end up working in there.

7. When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself?

-Exercise followed by a relaxing movie can get me out of any funk that I am in.

8. Who/What influences your work?

-The human form, fashion designers, and pop culture are my biggest influences.

9. Do you collect anything?

-I collect the limited edition Franklin Library leather bound books

10. What words of advice would you give to your younger self?

-“Get back to drawing!”

11. In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice?

-Prioritizing a good sleep schedule.

12. Share an inspiring image.

James May Gallery | 2201 N Farwell, Milwaukee, WI | 262-753-3130

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