Local artist and University of Arizona alumnus Nathanael Myers brings creativity to life in Tucson through his exploration of several artistic mediums and his desire to kindle the notion of conceptual and visual poetry.
Myers, who graduated from the UA in 2015 with a degree in fine arts, works in a variety of artistic mediums, including two-dimensional art, dance and music. His passion for artistic creation fuels his current work in each of these platforms.
Myers was a proud recipient of the Buffalo Exchange Emerging Artist Award for 2017. This annual award highlights emerging artists in the performing arts and visual arts and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts through education, organization and advocacy.
“To have acknowledgement that what I am doing is correct, especially not going to school for say dance or performance, that was really rewarding, and it redefined my definition of gratitude for the community that supported me,” Myers said. “I knew that what I was doing within Tucson meant something and it was not just an internal practice.”
After starting at the UA in 2010, Myers had a plan to study music and architecture. He immediately joined the UA Pride of Arizona Marching Band, where he continued to develop his skills as a alto saxophone player, which he began playing when he was 13 years old.
Despite his love for music, the arts and marching band, Myers actually switched his major to molecular and cellular biology, becoming more detached from fine arts. Myers soon realized, however, that science could not give him the type of push and creative outlet he needed.
“[The arts] might be a struggle per say, but I decided I needed to pursue my passions rather than having the necessary financial stability that you don’t normally get in the arts,” Myers said.
Myers eventually decided to pursue two-dimensional art, which rekindled his passion for artistic practice.
“[Pursuing it was about] fueling this love for creativity, specifically from visual art and music,” Myers said.
During his undergraduate degree, Myers also worked for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Tucson, where he pioneered an internship opportunity that catered to both his interests and interests of other fine arts students. This internship is now offered to UA and Pima Community College students, something the museum had never thought of doing before. Myers was offered a job as membership and MOCAShop manager after graduating in 2015.
“It was a really great opportunity, and it really expanded my mindset for what art could be,” Myers said.
Since leaving the UA, Myers has continued to explore new artistic mediums. One of the newest art forms he has come to love is dance and movement.
Myers didn’t begin to pursue dance professionally until he was 23 years old. Coming into dance at an older age was challenging, but he quickly mastered the art of movement and was offered a performing position with Artifact Dance Project. In this dance company role, Myers has taken the stage in several on-stage productions, including a collaboration with The Rogue Theatre in The House of Pomegranates, the production of Judith as King Nebuchadnezzar and Downtown.
Myers is now working on the next show for their upcoming dance season. His choreography will be featured in the last show of the season, “New Moves,” from Thursday, May 3, through Sunday, May 6.
“That’s going to be a nice challenge to have my visual art be on three-dimensional bodies,” Myers said.
In his choreography, Myers will be integrating visual art and sound by working with local sound artist Karima Walker to help bring his vision to life on stage. Some of the natural sounds Myers will be incorporating are the sounds of his own breath and the scraping of his feet on the ground and sand, manipulating those sounds to create original noises to go along with his choreography.
At the age of 25, Myers has already been recognized as an a talented emerging performer and visual artist. On of his most memorable accomplishments is his first solo visual art exhibition at the UA Lionel Rombach Gallery in 2017 with a combination of two- and three-dimensional art, titled “1.48.116.”
“In that show, I found that I needed to be honest in what I was creating,” Myers said.
For Myers, this art exhibition was a physical embodiment of his own experiences regarding the divide surrounding LGBTQ matters, specifically with relational and religious concerns. His two-dimensional and three-dimensional art work together in this space to critically analyze the relationship between one’s dogma and an established belief system.
The importance of fine arts and the message Myers brings to the art community is that art is able to connect and communicate what words may not be able to.
Pursuing a fine arts degree is a courageous thing to take on, and as Myers demonstrates, it is all about passion and the continuation of that passion to persevere in the field of art, whatever medium it may be, to show what art is.
“[Art] was my survival tool kit for a really rough period of time in my life, and I know that it speaks wonders without saying anything at all at the same time,” Myers said.
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Myers will continue to work with Artifact Dance Project through the end of their season and is working on a variety of other projects where he plans to collaborate with artists of different backgrounds.
“Take the risk,” Myers said. “Do what gives you goosebumps.”
Myers is currently planning to enroll in a master’s program at NYU in New York in August. With help from the Buffalo Exchange Award, Myers is also planning to take several summer dance intensives, allowing him to continue his movement practice and exploration of new artistic mediums.
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