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Interview With Robert Nava

 

How long have you been painting? 
I have painted since age 3, but began to paint more my own projects around 2007 so in that  sense, 10 years

What is your approach or process towards painting?

I mentally link painting to athletics and a kind of training like that.  My stretching would be brainstorming early in the morning.  I keep sketchbooks and draw in the phone all the time.  Music is loud in the studio, and I love it when I can do a piece in one hit.  Although sometimes it’s more of a battle. I get in physical rhythm with my marks depending on energy.

Do you have a day job? Or, do you work full time in your studio.

 Full time, I guess you could say I do ‘jobs on the side’. on occasion, I drive.

 

How do you come up with your ideas?

 Ideas happen in fragments of what people say/overheard snippets, small sounds.  Yeah I think it is a general collection of little things that have no stake or value often be overlooked, (nothing grandiose) I like the little things, the pieces of life..from there bigger ideas happen.

 

Your truck paintings are pretty great and refreshing to look at. Explain your fascination with trucks.

Nyc traffic hit me one day was like a slow moving gallery…haha like look at all these rectangles in your face.  So from there I focused on it.  Even the aspect of the labor, intensity, shipment, carrying, transporting and so forth became very motivational for me.

Your content seems to shift from trucks to  loose, humorous, expressionist spray paintings. Personally, I find those really engaging and personable. Describe your shift (If you feel like there even is a shift or change) from seemingly tight abstract truck ends to really loose and fun gestural paintings. 

I’d like to think of them as individual series.  If they were a runner, one of them is marathon and the other is more a sprinter, I have fun with both.  To me they are the same realm, just different areas of interest and help expand my horizons.

Who are your favorite artists?

 I mainly look at ancient art and children’s art, so many of the names I’m not sure.  There are so many great artists though, at the moment, I’ll go with Goya, Horace Pippin, Van Gogh

Do you have any favorite art books?

No

What are your feelings on academia?

Academia is a great place for conversation and deep levels of theory.  You are able to listen to different perspectives all within a small physical radius, but I also feel it becomes a different experience when out in the world. I think being able to that deep is very valuable, but equally are the things that are in your everyday environment.. knowledge is everywhere.

 

Robert Nava earned his MFA from Yale University. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently represented by Night Gallery. To learn more about Robert and his work please visit www.robnava.com