Nathan Walker is one of the artists whose work is currently showing in our stair tower gallery. The paintings on display are from his work as an illustrator and include works that were featured in Highlights Magazine and the new children’s book Floaty Feet. I wanted to interview Nate to learn the difference between an artist and an illustrator (and stumbled upon a story about a missing mustache!).
Chris: What is the difference between an Illustrator and an artist?
Nathan: Well, an illustrator is an artist. And an artist can be an illustrator. They are often both, one and the same. The main difference between an artist and an illustrator is that an illustrator works with a client, somebody who has hired them to make a specific piece of art. For example, an illustrator will be hired by a greeting card company to make a funny picture of a frog eating birthday cake to use on a birthday card. Being an illustrator means you have to work with certain limitations and requirements on your artwork, while an artist can make whatever they choose.
Chris: What is your medium?
Nathan: My medium tends to be paint. I like to work with acrylic paint every chance I get. However, sometimes I use the computer to color my images, especially if I need to make my illustrations really quickly. But I always start with a pencil drawing first.
Chris: What inspired you to create your own children’s book?
Nathan: I have always loved reading picture books, even as an adult. So I thought it would be a lot of fun and very rewarding to make my own book so other people could enjoy it.
Chris: What interested you about working at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine?
Chris: What motivates you to keep making art?
Nathan: I have always loved to make art, and I’m sure I always will. It’s something that I never get tired of doing. But I often get motivation to make new artwork when I see other people making art. When I go to a museum, or a gallery, or even when I see an animated movie or someone’s artwork online, it’s really exciting to me and it makes me want to make something for myself!
Chris: Do you, by any chance, have a curly mustache?
Nathan: It’s funny you should ask…I used to have a curly mustache. In fact I had the curliest mustache in all fifty states. I actually won many contests and prestigious awards for not only the amount of curls in my mustache, but also for the size of the curls! It was so curly that people would travel from all around the world just to catch a glimpse of it! They would tell stories of my mustache back in their own countries about the man from New Hampshire with the curliest mustache. In fact, I’ve even heard that astronauts in space once caught a glimpse of my mustache when they were outside washing their space shuttle. Unfortunately, one day I decided that I wanted to go surfing way up in Alaska. So I took off my mustache and laid it down on the beach, just to keep it dry – you can imagine how long it takes to blow dry a giant curly mustache. Well, when I got done surfing, I came back to shore and discovered my mustache was missing. I looked for it for several years, but I was never able to discern its location. And to this very day, I still have no idea where it ended up. Although, I did recently hear from a fisherman who said that he had spotted a big blue whale swimming off the coast of New Zealand with a rather large and bushy set of eyebrows!
Nathan’s artwork will be on display in our stairwell gallery through April 3, 2012; her work appears alongside the illustrations of Rebecca Q Yankes in the exhibition Drawn Together.