Artist Feature: Natty Art Uk
Sometimes social media really does have its benefits because every now and again you stumble across something that makes you stop and think; this is awesome! That is exactly what happened when I came across the Natty Art Uk Facebook page. Of course, seeing the skills being displayed I had to get in touch and learn more about this talented artist.
Nathaniel Goulbourne, is the face of Natty Art Uk (website nattyart.gallery). He is an up and coming Artist/Illustrator, illustrator of books, comics, posters and design logos with his own unique style of Artwork to offer. Here we talk to Natty and get to know a little bit about his history and the work he does.
“To my friends and family I have always been known as ‘Natty’. For my father, being from Jamaica, Natty was the natural nickname for his son.
I grew up in a working class family with my brother and three sisters in Ipswich, Suffolk. I had hard working parents and was lucky enough to have a blessed childhood with strong family values. Although my parents struggled financially I had a great time growing up with my close-knit group of family and friends. Large family gatherings from my father’s side of the family were a regular occurrence. It was at these BBQ’s and parties that I was introduced to the sounds of Soul, Reggae and original Rhythm and blues.
I was always pretty quiet as a child. I remember spending countless hours in my own little world creating cartoon characters and comic book storylines in my bedroom. To be honest I am still doing the same things today. I have always had a massive passion for visual creativity, storytelling and music.
My brother, who is nearly ten years older than me had a big influence on me as I was growing up. Like most younger brothers I really looked up to him and thought that everything he was into was really cool. So at a young age I was introduced to comics, Hip-Hop and American football.
My first brush with Christianity came when I was converted at a Faith camp aged 11, but by the age of 13 I had given it all up. It was at around this time (1993-94) that I was reintroduced to Hip-Hop, this time by my friends, most of which were a couple of years older than me. I quickly fell in love with the culture of Hip-Hop especially the Artwork and Graffiti. The bright colours, bold lines and clever use of shapes and letters have greatly influenced my work. I always remember the characters in my favourite ‘Cypress Hill, Black Sunday’ T-shirt, which made me want to copy that style of drawing. I was also inspired by the imagery used on classic album covers such as ‘A tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders’ and ‘Camp Lo, Uptown Saturday Night’ to name just two.
Art was the one subject I felt good at during my school days, so I took my passion to University in East London. Unfortunately at the time I was more interested in partying and getting high than working hard to become what I always wanted to be.
When I returned to my home town of Ipswich I was ready to give up on the Art for good, but it wasn’t long before I was working on my own personal projects and drawings. However, between the years of 2002 -2006 I tended to leave most of my projects half-finished and struggled to find direction in my Artwork. My lifestyle seemed to mirror the same misdirection of my Artwork and I became quite depressed. I felt like all I did was jump from one dead end job to the next, and my dreams of being an Artist/Illustrator were over. I wanted answers and turned to a good life long friend who had recently become a Christian. I saw his transformation from an angry man with an unstable relationship to a caring and thoughtful friend who had married his girlfriend and they were raising a family together. Over the course of at least a year or two he would tell me the gospel message and, although I could see what it had done in his life, I held back from accepting Jesus into my life, until one night everything he had been telling me seemed to click into place. That night I silently prayed that Jesus would forgive me and accept me as His.
It was in 2007 when I began to take my Artwork in a new direction. I had recently become a born-again Christian and was asked to do a painting for a friend, who was a Christian Hip-Hop artist. He called himself ‘Drew aka The Other’. He specialised in freestyling about Jesus, but also wrote a number of tracks about his journey to faith. The painting entitled ‘Listen Up!’ depicted a character based on the rapper desperately trying to tell people heading for doom about Jesus. It was used as the cover of a limited amount of CD’s which were given out to people. This lead to a series of illustrations based on the things I was learning as a new Christian. It was at this time that I realised that I had a knack for conveying a message with my Artwork.
Since then I have worked on several personal projects about my faith. I have also been lucky enough to work with some very talented local Hip-Hop artists and singer/songwriters, making Artwork for album covers and promotional work. I have also done illustrations for a Sci-fi/ fantasy novel and have published my own children’s books.
I enjoy working with others and helping them to achieve the full potential of their talents. I like working with music Artists because they usually have a message or feeling they are trying to convey with lyrics and sound. This gives me the opportunity to illustrate that message in a way that I feel suits the music and content of the Artist’s work.
A recent example of this is the comic strip I have done to accompany the up and coming Hip-Hop Artist Cosha Don. The brief given to me was the album would be called ‘Zealous Shield’, and that the shield could represent some sort of protective force field. Being a fan of Marvel comics, I immediately thought of Captain America. I based the character on the Artist and gave him a shield similar to Captain America’s. It was decided that the setting of the comic-strip could be a sort of apocalyptic, Mad Max type world, where Cosha Don would emerge as a sort of lyrical hero to the people of an oppressed world. With song titles like ‘Chained to the System’ and ‘Objective Youth’ I felt like I could see how the Artist feels about society and how he uses his lyrics to voice his opinion.
I also enjoy creating ideas for logos and designs. I have recently been working on a canvas based form of wall Art I call ‘Splat-Tags’. These are custom-made stylised cut-outs mounted onto coloured card and stuck to a colourful canvas background which is splattered with different coloured paints. This new idea started out as Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews. It shows another side to what I like to do as an Artist using different materials to create Art. Again the graphic style of writing and bold colours stem from my love of Graffiti and Street Art which along with Cartoon and Comic Art have had a profound impact on my style of Art.
Natty Art Uk was started around 2 years ago along with my website nattyart.gallery, to show what I have to offer as an Artist. The gallery is just a small taste of projects both new and old. In my day to day life I am a support worker and I work helping people with various problems (including mental health problems) cope with everyday chores. Since teaming up with Ambiel music, who helped me build my website, I have been able to work with Artists signed to the label and to get my Artwork seen by more people. I have a small fan-base which is steadily growing and look forward to a time when I can do this as a living. So far I have enjoyed working on all sorts of projects, ranging from illustrating cartoon characters to World War 2 Aircraft in my spare time. I am very passionate about what I do and always try my best to give my customers the image that they want, adding my own style and flare to their ideas.
As a believer I feel blessed to have a gift that I can use to help encourage others to follow Jesus and to pursue their dreams. I am thankful to God and all the people He has placed in my life to get me this far.. I also feel that I have a lot more to offer and look forward to what life has to offer.”
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what’s next for Natty Art Uk. A great talent with a great future, watch this space!
As well as the website you can connect with Natty Art via his social media sites below. If you’ve liked what you’ve read and seen in this article please feel free to leave a comment and share the post.