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Nate Petterson

Nate Petterson


2012 Sonoma Coast Rosé

Painting is my way down the rabbit hole.

It was drawing, however that started it all. From the beginning, the process of transforming my ideas into a physical representation struck me as magical, and that magical process has only grown as I have matured. Painting now gives me that sense and one of accomplishment. Painting is what drives me.

Drawing is the backbone to my work as a painter. It creates the structure in which the painting is built upon. A linear quality pervades many aspects of my work. Patterns then become the dressings I hang on that structure. It is because of these sometimes intricate, sometimes whimsical patterns that I chose to paint in acrylic. It’s quick drying properties allow me to continually work within a single area without the need to wait.

I currently create paintings informed by a wide variety of historical periods and movements. I piece together the qualities and components I find interesting along with my own perspective to create new works that are nostalgic and at the same time contemporary. My work reproduces familiar visual signs, arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces. I use juxtaposition, and color theory as guidelines in the creation of new works.

The figure plays an important role in my paintings. It acts as the beacon to draw the attention of the viewer who is then met with complex patterns and vivid colors. Composition of the figure amongst open shapes that will later be filled with pattern is the vector that influences everything that will happen in a particular work. Figures in my work are often skewed, elongated, or disproportional to create a visual symmetry with the surrounding patterns as well as add to the ambiguity of the process.

The repetitive nature of pattern painting frees my imagination and provides opportunities for happy accidents to creep into finished product. It is these happy accidents that provide me with ideas for upcoming work and facilitate my growth as a painter. Within the patterns, the areas I am most interested in are the intersection of two or more competing designs. The areas where patterns meet to create new shapes and colors are changed slightly with the compliment of the surrounding color.

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