Nathaniel Chapman is an in-house artist for Yarn Marketplace and the driving force behind Custodian Streetwear. We wanted to share a little bit more about him and his fantastic work for the launch of his Homeland collection. We asked him a few questions about his history and his art so you can learn more about the talent behind the beautiful artwork!
Nat and Jarra Chapman wearing the Tropic Eagle design
When or where do you find inspiration for your artworks?
I would find a lot of inspiration from my Father & Great Uncles who are all established artists & have painted giant murals, for me as a young boy witnessing it first hand was special & a lot of my style I owe to them.
I also find a lot of inspiration from my community & all the talented artists around QLD. Also on a motivating level it’s good for me to take in knowledge from my elders about story’s & the connection I should be keeping with my artworks.
When did you begin painting?
My interest in painting began early, in primary all the kids would attempt drawing & painting their favourite cartoon characters. Being naturally drawn to that, I would practise until I got it right. A little older I turned that focus to painting my favourite actors/singers onto larger surfaces using an old projector in the art teachers shed.
I found a lot of joy doing that. I would think of new ways to up the ante each time with my artwork so when I started with the traditional art it opened up a lot of different styles & ways I never knew I could do.
When did you realise you wanted to develop a career in visual art?
In Highschool I was encouraged a lot by the Art teachers, Principal & other Students to pursue it as a career but my biggest supporters are my family, like most mob we encourage each other's talents & qualities & when you’re constantly reminded by the people closest to you, it’s a huge motivator.
Nat and Jarra Chapman wearing the Saltie Waters design
How does creating art help you connect with your Country and culture?
Creating first nation art is a way for me to express the way I feel about my heritage. From a young age I've participated in a lot of Survival Day marches here in Brisbane which you could say helped shape the person I am.
For a majority of my schooling I was enrolled in an Indigenous based School where art & history was encouraged. I was also taught by my extended family how to culturally dance at a young age then being given the privilege to show off their skills in multiple countries around the world.
You could say I’m more than passionate about our culture, being it's my identity how can I not , art/design is just a way for me to express it. Today as a proud black man, my children will know who they are and where they are from. Aboriginal Art will always be a symbol of our identity & I will pass that down.
What does this collection mean to you?
This collection is my representation of the diverse landscapes & environment’s we have here in Australia and also the Native animals that call these places home. Australia is the most beautiful place in the world to me & I feel like it needs to be shared through the eyes of First Nation people to educate & give an insight to other cultures visiting this country.
What’s your process for creating a new artwork, talk us through it?
When I was younger I’d paint straight to canvas without much thought, just painting the way I felt from start to finish, I’d say I’m a more organised artist now experimenting with digital artworks, using illustrator, procreate, & other tools that make it easier for me to stick to a process where my artwork is done in steps & I can find that best result.
Exploration & sketch is a big part also & once I'm happy with a design draft, the colour palette becomes the main focus along with the story. When you find the best process for yourself it becomes second nature & a good artist will always want to excel in every way.
What has been the highlight of your artist journey so far?
What advice do you have for your First Nations artists that are just starting?
“This collection is my representation of the diverse landscapes & environment’s we have here in Australia and also the Native animals that call these places home. Australia is the most beautiful place in the world to me & I feel like it needs to be shared through the eyes of First Nations people to educate & give an insight to other cultures visiting this country.”
- Nat Chapman
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