Artistry Magazine sat down with sophomore Ohio native Nathaniel Hulsey and talked about his inspiration, work and new social media project. Hulsey is a talented artist who majors in Graphic Design and Interactive Media.
Artistry: Where do you tend to get ideas for your projects from?
Nathaniel: I’m 90% self-taught with everything I do so most of it comes from “That’s pretty cool, I should try that” and then it’s trial and error. I taught myself Illustrator by sitting down and doing tutorials and producing a project and that was the goal. One of my favorite parts of being an artist is just collaboration.
N: For one group project I did for class last year, I was wrapped in saran wrap from head to toe. I had to breathe through straws. Once I was wrapped up, we taped it, and then cut the tape off. It was so hot. We re-taped it so it became the shell of my body, and then we stuffed it with newspaper so that we had a shell of me falling. Then we got leaves and created a mesh out of chicken wire and we stuffed that with leaves and we made a hole in it and suspended it from a stairwell then we suspended the cast of my body below it as if my body had fallen through a pile of leaves.
Another project that I’ve done is capturing photographs of paint manipulated by sounds waves. We put a subwoofer under a box with saran wrap covering the top and then poured paint the box and turned the subwoofer all the way up while playing intense rap music. We then took a high-zoom macro lens and mounted iton a tripod and pointing it towards the paint. We had to set up three light-triggered flashes, which acted as our “shutter”.
The idea was that since our camera could only reach a shutter speed of 1/4000, but the vibrations of sound in paint were faster than the camera could capture. However, because the flashes use light instead of a physical shutter, we basically just set the camera shutter to be slow, but kept the room dark enough so that when we triggered the flashes at a much higher speed, they were able to capture a single millisecond where the paint was being manipulated by the sound waves.
A: That’s so cool! With all of your class projects, do you find that it’s hard to find time to pursue your own work?
N: Unfortunately I don’t do as much side work as I’d like to because there’s so much schoolwork but every once in a while, I’ll try to do my own thing.
A: What’s your favorite part of being an artist?
N: That’s a tricky question. I think my favorite part is being able to create things, to produce something. The challenge of having an idea and bring it to fruition is definitely the most satisfying thing to me. There’s just this feeling of accomplishment and I made this. This is mine. This came from my head and now it’s a physical thing.
When I invest my time and energy and really work through these visual problems that are presented, that’s all art is. I have an image, what’s the next step? How do I make this reality and finding a way to make that happen and have it come out the way you want it to but also not the way you want it to, it has so many different variable that make it an exciting thing. There are so many different parts of being a designer that I love which is why I’m okay with making $20,000 out of college.
A: Are there any negatives to being an artist?
N: The downside to being an artist is that it’s 200% competition. Everyone, all the time, is competing against one another. The competition is tough and it does lead to some uncertainty. You want to make sure you put in the work, it’s what its all about.
A: Do you have a specific aim as an artist?
N: Not really. For me, it honestly depends. There’s artwork I do for myself and there’s artwork I do that’s specifically geared for an audience.
For example, I’m working with friends and helping them design an app called Lyfe – it’s a new social media concept. It’s designed to be interacted with by other people. So when it comes down to it, even though I’ll have my personal style and my thoughts about it, it comes down to the question, “does it work well with other people?”
A: Tell us more about Lyfe.
N: Lyfe is a social networking experience that aims to create a seamless bridge between making connections with other people and developing your personal network. It starts out with a simple connection between you and another person, whether it’s to remember how you met this person one night at a concert, or to create a lasting networking connection with a client or business partner. By making new connections and sharing your interests with your connections and groups of connections, you expand your social network in real life, and thus spend more time actually out in the real world, making even more connections, and memories, as opposed to robotically scrolling through a random person’s news feed filled meaningless content.
In short, the goal of our app is to expand your real life network and ultimately stop using social media as a platform for social interaction. We want you to use our app as a platform for real life social interaction.
A: Could you name a few of your favorite artists?
N: I’m definitely a huge fan of Monet. I absolutely love his work and if I can paint,I would paint like he paints. I think that Monet basically translated light onto a canvas and that in itself, is absolutely incredible to even think about it. When he stood in a forest, he didn’t just see the forest, he saw all that light and the colors that were being created. That is why I am so inspired by his work.
One of my favorite classical artists is Bernini. He is by far one of the best marble sculptors of all time. His sculptures are so lifelike it doesn’t even make sense. That amount of talent to say, “here’s a block and I’m going to liberate this sculpture from this block” is beyond me.
Paul Rand is my favorite designer because of his impact in the world of design. He was a huge proponent for design and branding being a crucial component to any legitimate business. His success and the success of his clients with his work opened so many doors for designers as a legitimate career. Design is only becoming more crucial to us in our era, and it pretty much started with Paul Rand showing us the true power of good design.
Outside of art, Hulsey likes to hike and spend as much time outdoors as possible. He also enjoys snowboarding, playing video games, playing the drums and guitar as well as just listening and sharing music.