I was born and raised in Rock Hill, South. I have had an interest in art for as long as I can remember. I first started doodling as a little boy, often getting in trouble for doing this on the walls at home. As I got older, I discovered the classic Walt Disney animated features and started learning to draw by sketching my favorite characters. At the age of 12, I started taking formal art lessons from a successful artist in my hometown, learning to work with a variety of drawing and painting mediums. I continued to study art throughout my teen years.
For me, a painting is not just something you see, but something you experience. There is so much beauty in the world around us that is often missed as we hustle and bustle through life. I try to showcase that beauty in my work.
I have been painting in oil for several years now and it is my predominate medium. I find the richness of oil perfect for rendering my interpretations of the world around me.
About the Business
I have been selling my art for the last six years. I started showing not long after I graduated high school. I consider my art to be my life’s work. I want to share the beauty I find in the world around me with everyone I can. I take satisfaction from seeing a client overjoyed when they first see a commissioned painting, or when someone finds deep meaning and a personal connection to one of my prints.
In 2009, Sarah Harbin was enjoying an Art Walk with friends and like many, a Charleston Art Walk is not complete without a stop down the historic corridor to East Bay Street to Robert Lange Studios. Known for its uncompromising excellence in identifying talent that is without limit and exploding in creative flow, Robert Lange Studios has become the model for art, not just in Charleston, but throughout the country. Their culture of acceptance in the art community has brought in admirers from all walks of life including Kevin Costner. As Sarah soaked in the diverse range of exhibits, she was taken by one particular piece that was hanging in the single use restroom. Robert Lange Studios has a practice of highlighting an artist in the restroom area. As she absorbed the detail, she knew the artwork was already “mine in my heart.” She purchased it and today it is still a very meaningful part of her home.
That artist was Nathan Durfee. Today, Sarah’s painting has very defined meaning and that young artist, whose work she purchased, was awarded the Best Visual Artist Award four consecutive years from 2010 through 2013 by Charleston City Paper. This has been a long journey for the creative mind of Nathan Durfee. This isn’t a rags to riches story. This is a creative talent in the art community that has a wonderful story to share. Through his images and colors, Nathan creates a visual world that has taken flight and mesmerized children and adults throughout the Charleston community.
When I met Nathan at Kudu Coffee downtown, he was working diligently on a new piece for his father. one that would compliment a birthday gift of a new bike. I wanted to break the ice quickly and dig into the personality of this artist.
“What inspires you Nathan?”
He replied, “eavesdropping, other artists and brilliant people talking.”
Quite a profound list uttered without hesitation. This opened the door to a very candid few hours with this middle child who studied illustration in Savannah, GA. His playful, giddy laugh showed his childish innocence and proves very important in his works which combine adult subject matter and elegant landscapes. This careful tapestry of beautiful tragedy incorporates the bittersweet imperfections of life with elegance and sensitivity.
Many find that moment when inspiration hits and they can pinpoint that exact time when they just knew. For Nathan, he never had that moment. He summarized his career as “scattering a bread crumb trail” until he found his destiny. Now featured in Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans, Nathan’s work has found a niche in the Southeast. His style and approach is one of spontaneity. Many approach art with the idea of meticulously preparation, thinking though each brush stroke mentally for hours paint is lain on canvas. Not Nathan. He takes an idea and begins. It is refreshing to see him go from mind to creation so quickly and grow the idea with each minute and hour of passing time.
Like many creative types, ego does play into the personality type and is critical to pushing oneself to seek out their inner greatness. Nathan felt this early in this career, even when he was struggling to find an audience, Over time, he has developed a resistance because having too much of an ego could not help him become a better artist. Nathan also, on occasion will listen to patrons talk about his work and gain insight into how others perceive his style, characters and image depictions. It is part of his continuous learning curve.
Nathan, who shows tremendous maturity at this early stage in his career has been greatly influenced by Joe Sorren, Illustrator Phil Hale and Illustrator Dave Mckean . If you look closely and compare the colors and styles, you can see how the influence has rubbed off on Nathan.
Over the course of our discussion, we talked about memorable commissioned works, great customer experiences and future plans. On December 5, 2014, Nathan and Robert Lange Studios will be unveiling an eagerly awaited new collection.
“Nathan, if you are in front of a young student, whose life ambition is to become an artist, what advice would you give?”
Don’t get discouraged
Don’t get cocky
Stay in between
This is exemplary advice from an artist whose style is already influencing other.? For now, we see many years of amazing work ahead that will gain further exposure and further accolades for this Charleston talent.
South Carolina artist William Buggel has a career as long as your arm. Trained at USC in the 1960s, his work has been placed in dozens of exhibitions, garnered countless awards and honors, and been placed in the state museum. You would be hard pressed to find an artist more expert than Buggel: from knowing what works for him, to how a painting can take years or might require a very particular canvas.
Art aficionados will know his work very well, but everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to see his work at The Corrigan Gallery on 62 Queen Street.
It is spectacularly interesting. Buggel is an abstract artist, and thinks providing too much information takes away from the imagination of the viewer. You do not need much prompting to get imaginative with his shockingly innovative pieces. And yet, with Buggel’s work, what we are encourage to meditate on isn’t some alien place. His abstract yet intricate, complex, and textured work conjures up memories of home, of the land, of very familiar places.
On his larger “Red Ascending,” on display at this show, he explains some of the process he engages. This painting is “An experiment using new shapes but including some more familiar ones.? The larger vertical and horizontal shapes are held in check by a line of small squares that are not quite evenly spaced, like some jazz phrasing.”
Of late, it seems a theme of his is movement past static things. The effect of passing man-made and natural objects through a car window, for example.
His comments on his paintings give you a sense of how intellectual the project of painting is. Here is how he describes one of his smaller paintings, “Passing Gray-Urban View”:
“I spend most of my time in a very quiet country area and visit town a few times a month.? I see things sometimes like time lapse photography-large buildings jammed up against pavement, gray bands (sidewalks and pavement), and red clay (brick buildings), along with the colors and rectangular shapes of human habitation.”