Nathan Cartwright is a Los Angeles-based, mixed media artist and acclaimed founder/curator for The Hive Gallery and Studios, in downtown Los Angeles (founded in 2005). His gallery is the oldest in the area and has been featured in numerous documentaries and magazines. As an artist, he has shown his work around the world, and is known for curating large festival style shows around the country as well as his studios in the Downtown LA Artwalk/Gallery Row-area.
“My work is a personal mythology about the importance of living an authentic life, keeping an open mind, and having fun as a creator. I have been incorporating “happy face” characters into my mythology. These characters I call “The Man”, are symbolic of humans residing in a sleep-like state. The simple happy faced humanoid characters are emoticons. Devoid of core truth, they represent mankind existing in an unawakened, inauthentic state. My sculptural paintings map the process of “The Man” evolving from sleep to an awakened state through stories of adventure, success, failure, death and rebirth. To express the temporary state of all things, I depict eastern and western deities destroying “The Man” whose sole purpose is to gain money, power, and then die. In other cases my characters experience an “awakening” to their true selves: taking off their masks, or their pre-conceived and media-created ideas of themselves. Different levels of “The Man” are symbolized by different states of awareness: A happy face with business outfit equals sleep; farmer’s outfit equals slowly waking up; walking into the dark forest equals waking up and becoming a hero; and a maskless character equals being awakened and engaged in the creative life.”
– Nathan Cartwright