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Q&A with Nathan Hussain

Malu Rocha talks to artist Nathan Hussain about his distinctive collages and how they spread positivity to thousands of people

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Image Credit: Nathan Hussain

Nathan Hussain is a graphic artist based in the North East of England who specialises in uplifting and emotive collages. His designs are unique in the sense that they juxtapose uplifting typography with surreal images under a very soothing colour palette. In a recent interview with Forbes magazine he explained that he has always been obsessed with the aesthetic of day to day life and that clearly translates in his work.

His career has had a huge boost in the past few years with the growing success of his Instagram page @AnalogbyNat which now has over 65,000 followers. The fact that Nathan can say that his job is to create innovative designs and inspire individuals is something he still has to pinch himself about, he admits.

How did you develop such a unique and recognisable style with your collages?
My style is just a melting pot of everything and everyone that influenced me growing up. I have an obsessive attitude with art that inspires me. I study the artist’s background, influences and work flow to where it innately infiltrates my own style. I’m extremely wary of emulation so always try to push it that step further to make it fresh and my own. I think a lot of people are ashamed by admitting they are heavily influenced and inspired by others. At the end of the day all work we perceive as ‘original’ came from something before it. So I’m totally cool with being inspired by others.

The mandatory question I have to ask: what inspires you?
I’m inspired by anything that speaks to me. I’m lucky in the sense that I really do have that ‘gut feeling’ when I’m working or looking at work. I can literally feel when something is right or inspires me. I have three main artists that formed the foundation of what I do: HandJazz, Jimmy Marble and Jimmy Turrell. I’m currently inspired by Dreamer Magazine, Mundial Mag, Georgia Perry and Ruby Taylor.

Your designs are quite cheerful and always have an uplifting message. Would you say sharing positivity is your artistic mission?
Haha! I’m still figuring out the art of positivity to be honest. 'AnalogbyNat' seems to be helping thousands of people every day which is crazy. But its work is just as important to me as it is my audience. The daily affirmations are something that really helped pull me out of a low period of my life. In terms of my artistic mission. I don’t know to be honest. I think it’s good for any human to spread positivity. Be it as small or big as possible. The fact I can pour a tiny bit of positivity onto somebody’s timeline everyday is something that I’m lucky to say is my job.

Why did you choose collages as your creative medium? What is it about them that attracted you?
I love how little the rules apply to collage. You can create such surreal environments that nobody can critique. People seem so more open minded when admiring collage art as they let go of their realistic pretences and see it simply for what it is. Something I think we should transfer into our day to day lives more often.

Scrolling down your Instagram, your current designs are quite different from older ones. How would you say your style has evolved over the past year?
I’ve simply got better at making art. It’s a development that really justifies Ira Glass’ theory regarding the creative gap. People ask me about how to ‘create art like you’. The answer is literally by doing it. Creating a little everyday. My page’s aesthetic has developed as my skill set has. I’m super happy with where it’s at right now.

What are your thoughts on using social media (especially Instagram) as one of the main ways of sharing your art with the public?
The immediacy Instagram offers my artwork is amazing. A dude I often chat with for advice likened my work to being ‘cool memes’ and I loved the way that embodied my work. It’s true. They have short lifespans in terms of impact and the turn around is super quick. But they then join the rest to become the body of work and overarching theme my page offers. It’s sick. But you have to be wary of the traps this can offer. Dependency on the digital world can be dangerous and can disillusion you. I’ve managed to distance myself from this in recent months.

Some of your designs are inspired by musicians and their work, with your latest post being on Tom Rosenthal’s music. Is the process of creating these collages different?
The process is exactly the same. I love and work to music and Tom Rosenthal’s work has been a proper soundtrack to my going’s on over the years. I listened to that track and it just felt right to make a collage from that. Was super rad that he got in touch about it too. Crazy moment.

What does 2020 have in store for you? Any New Year’s resolutions?
The end of 2019 was crazy. I landed my first global client and opened my shop. It’s truly blown me away. 2020 has luckily started how I left off and I am having a lot of exciting talks. In regards to my brand,. I’m working on more prints than ever as well as a clothing and stationary range. Hyped!

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