Nathan Richard Phelps

Hotel Amar

In the summer of 2015, Nathan Richard Phelps set up a small studio space in a conference room at Kenshoo’s North American headquarters in downtown San Francisco. Together with Patience Yi of Code and Canvas they came up with an idea. Instead of trying to get the tech community to come out to our art events and engage in our territory, let’s bring the art experience to them. Over the course of 3 months, Nathan made 2 large murals and created an art studio where he could collaborate with employees in order that they could see first hand what it is to make art. Together they made over 30 entirely unique pieces with a watercolor technique he facilitated. At the end of the residency Nathan framed all the work and created an exhibition which was open to the public and helped to advance the dialogue between art and tech in San Francisco.
Projects:
1625 Shattuck
1625 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, California. This piece was created over 7 days for Cohen Rojas Capital Partners in late 2017. The inspiration for this project was from an idea of limiting himself to a single shape, in this case is a rectangle, then use only that one shape to create a successful composition. Nathan has found that with extreme limitations he is forced to test himself in difficult ways, this in turn shows him new aspects of his work and his mind which become an outer display of an inner experience.
BLOC 15
Bloc 15 is an event space near Jack London Square in Oakland. For this project he was commissioned to reimagine the outer walls in an unhindered and wild freeform style. The design directive was something along the lines of “go crazy with it” and this is the result.
Grifitti aesthetic
With this piece Nathan felt it was important to harmonize with the surrounding graffiti styles present in the neighborhood but he also wanted to avoid the trap of stereotypically urban motifs. The length of a city block End to end this piece is the largest he’s done and stretches the length of a block at a height of about 20 ft. To date this is his biggest piece and second time painting in the open air.
MightyBox
During the year leading up to December 2016 Nathan created an exhibition at MightyBox Industries reimagining the role of perspective points as a tool for understanding reality. It seems to him the entirety of our world emanates out of (or possibly into) a distant source point we will never meet. Beyond that event horizon something that our entire reality manifests out of. Nathan wanted to address this phenomena by inventing new forms and structures which would point to that source point. He executed the work in a variety of mediums, formats, and styles which culminated in a 47’ high mural on the front of the building which housed the exhibition. The MightyBox mural is clearly visible from Interstate 80 leading to the Bay Bridge and has become a significant archetectual icon in the Mission District area.Through experimenting with inversion (white on top of a black ground) he found that the lines gained new vibrancy and an intense visual interest became focused on the emanation point.
In spring 2016 Nathan travelled to Brooklyn for the inception of a guerilla art space known as Grey Market. During that time he created this 9 panel wall drawing, the Genesis Portal. The form ended up becoming a significant motif for her throughout the year. From this piece he became enthralled with the balance between chaos and order and the complexity that can come from a simple S shaped lined. This went on to become the inspiration for the exhibition at MightyBox, “Between Form and Void”. In that show he explored the limits of perception by creating aesthetic structures that expand out from, or constrict into, a central point which he thinks of as The Source.
Oro
This project was commissioned by Timothy Felkner who opened up the short lived Oro restaurant during summer 2015 in Mint Plaza. The main motivation here was to create a sweeping piece of art that encapsulated all sides of a subterranean hallway which leads diners to the restrooms in the basement of the building.
During the design phase Nathan was struck that the work space was underneath the streets and buildings of San Francisco. He felt the power of being INSIDE the city. He was reminded of the 1906 earthquake and the energy that lies dormant underground. He thought of the nutrients in the Earth which gives rise to the food that grows from it. This two ideas harmonized and became the swirling sprouting mural that emerged.
When he began this project the area had a dull, bland industrial feel with no life to it. Afterward, he created a one of a kind art piece which was an interpretation of what it’s like for life to emerge from deep inside the city. In the summer of 2015 Nathan set up a small studio space in a conference room at Kenshoo’s North American headquarters in downtown San Francisco. Together with Patience Yi of Code and Canvas they came up with an idea. Instead of trying to get the tech community to come out to our art events and engage in our territory, let’s bring the art experience to them. Over the course of 3 months he made 2 large murals and created an art studio where he could collaborate with employees in order that they could see first hand what it is to make art.
Together they made over 30 entirely unique pieces with a watercolor technique he facilitated. At the end of the residency he framed all the work and created an exhibition which was open to the public and helped to advance the dialogue between art and tech in San Francisco.

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