Nate Kogan has always been a master of visual language. From tripped out transmedia and GIFs, to piercing, warped illustrations and a near-future budding direction of projection mapping, Nate Kogan is a wizard of all magical disciplines. His Instagram is a stunning flow of an impressive, colourful body of work.
I had the chance to sit with Nate and get some background on his world, his art and the method to his madness. I asked Nate to pick three pieces from his collection to chat about and I, in turn, picked three.
Art Report: Let’s start way back. Do you remember any elementary or middle school art projects that you ran with that maybe broke the rules?
Nate Kogan: I don’t remember anything I did in those formative years, but I do remember having a very strong urge to never do anything that wasn’t on the creative end of things. I knew from a very early age that MAKING stuff was for me. I think at my core I am simply a creator. I like to believe that I am medium-agnostic and just move from one thing to the next as I see fit and please. I will say that I failed pretty much every art class in high school with flying colours.
AR: You once said in an interview that you were obsessed with loops. How are you bringing this obsession to life in your illustrations?
NK: I still am, even more so! I love things that loop. I think the world, life, everything is just one massive loop with slight tweaks every go so that things are drastically different each time.
AR: You’ve often said that Andy Warhol was a central influence to your work—more so for the concept of art as a commodity rather than the aesthetic. How does this influence come into play with your illustrations?
NK: I feel more so than ever Andy Wahol’s influence stick to me. I think that with my illustrations, I am looking to make something that is aesthetically pleasing but at the same time marketable. I like being a bit of a showman like that. I don’t believe in the bourgeois way of thinking of art. It should be fun, look good and pay for tacos.
AR: What do you listen to while you create?
NK: Loopy techno music… those damn loops.
AR: I asked you to pick two from your body of work—why Flux #1 and Squareboi Worldwatcher?
NK: These are the start of something new for me, a more cartoony, abstract style that I am going to flesh out into something more soon. I can’t give too much away, but I am learning how to sew and that has a lot to do with it 😀
AR: How’d you come up with the names?
With Flux it was simple—I am taking the elements that are typically found in my pieces and throwing them into a state of flux where they sort of just float around doing their thing. With the character work, it’s more so the idea of what the character is. There’s more to it, but it has to do the whole sewing thing I spoke about earlier. Hopefully it becomes a beautiful disaster <3
AR: Do you feel your art evolving? What is different with these pieces than from when you first started?
NK: I have gone back and forth with this question. Sometimes I feel it’s devolving but I like what it’s becoming overall. I try to always take the simplest forms and create an impact with them. I will say this much: I am ALWAYS learning with my work. I don’t see the point of doing something that does not involve some sort of learning. It doesn’t have to be massive steps but small increments go a long way in the grand fuzzy scheme.
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