Featured Gallery Artist: Nathaniel “Nate” Key
When you stop by Imurj and take a look at our main gallery wall this month, you’ll find vibrant paintings created from forgotten photographs found in the artist’s house; formerly part of a Durham church and school, gone but clearly not forgotten. “Agape Love” is an art exhibit created from the photos that resonated most with Nathaniel “Nate” Key – those of the students and teachers. He saw this as an opportunity to tell their story, and a story of how we view each other. The school’s name: The Agape School.
As the artist describes, “I believe we live in a critical moment in American history where we have come to a true end of devaluing people of color. This work mixes the story of the children from the Agape School with the concept of “Agape Love”, an unconditional love that comes from God. I believe we are challenged in this time to truly see each other as God sees us; as His children. At the same time, we must confront racism and bigotry through tangible means, such as art. I believe that this work endeavors to tell the story of God’s Agape Love for all his children and how it has saved and restored my life as well.”
Nate describes himself as an artist in constant training to better create – a person who expresses a gift from God. Interested in exploring different mediums as a means to express himself artistically, Nate is focused on illustrating the world around him. He is a self-trained artist from Buffalo, NY, attributing a lot of what he’s learned to his father, Jesse Key, a musician and artist skilled with watercolor. Urban, contemporary styles, achieved with bold messages and blended strokes, are key attributes of Nate’s work. Nate views art as a means of social change; he sees his own art as a way to impact the world in a positive way – challenging people to think and create a better world. He really enjoys working with oil paints, influenced by his friends & oil painters, John Kayrouz & William Paul Thomas. They helped encourage him to think differently – not just focusing on the finished product, but to also consider the processes that result in creating great work and telling stories through art.
Even though Nate’s roots are in his hometown of Buffalo, which still influences his work, he’s also happy to be working alongside the wide variety of artists in the Raleigh/Durham area. He recognizes Raleigh as a unique place, with a good mix of North and South, old and new, and the juxtaposition of traditions and technology, all pushing him to dig deeper to discover his true talent and uniqueness.
Nate’s Agape Love exhibit is available for viewing at Imurj’s gallery through February 2018. Check it out!
WRITER: AMBER ECHEVARRIA