October 23, 2018

Artist Interview – Nathan Freedman


Name: Nathan (Tobey) Freedman
Location: New York City
Website: http://www.saatchionline.com/buy-art/all?query=natey+freedman

Brief artists statement:
I am a 77 year old retiree who took up painting after a long career in TV and radio news reporting, journalism, public relations, and lastly retail store ownership.

Natey Freedman - The dog and me watching TV.

How did you become an artist? Did you always dream of a life in the art-world?
My brother and sister were both artists and I felt I had other talents. It wasn’t until after retirement at age 67 that I began taking art photographs and later I took adult education classes in oil painting, drawing, pastels, print making.

How has your education helped your career?
My formal education (I have a BA in Communications) was no help at all. I spent most of my working years using my writing and speaking skills.

Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?
I try to paint every day. Sometimes a little as an hour up to three hours. I prefer to paint in the morning.


Union Square, NYC

Which historical and contemporary artists do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work?
Biggest impact was a large Goya on display in the Frick Museum in NYC. It shows two men, life-size, beating metal at a forge. I thought when I first saw it decades ago that if I was a painter I would want to paint people the way they are… and make the viewer feel what the subjects of the painting feel.

I love the realists… but also the impressionists. I view the canvas as camera shot so I direct the eye through forced perspective and focus (sharpness or its lack) and manipulation of the values to push near and far.

What are the other influences on your work?
Instructors and the students reinforced by books on technique that I have read. I learned a lot from my fellow students, but the biggest influences by far are the museums of New York..

What was the last exhibition you visited?
A small gallery in the East Village of New York last week. I had a nice conversation with a Gallery owner. The art on display, brightly beaded hangings, left me cold…

What is your favourite art gallery?
All are interesting. Lately Gagosian has had exhibits as good as the Museums.

What are your experiences of the ‘art-world’ and the business of art?
Not much. From the outside it looks like a clutch of insiders playing favorites. But I could be wrong.

Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?
I am still early in my career.

Do you have a quotation that you keep coming back to and that keep you going? Have you a motto that gets you through?
Work every day, no matter what, even if only for an hour or so.


Which historical artist do you think is over-rated? Why?
None. It’s all good.

Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?
I’m open minded. Depends on the project. I’d still want everything to be clearly mine. But if I got a big commission I would need physical help.

Do you use social networks? if so, how and which ones do you find most useful?
Facebook keeps me in touch with friends. Fine Arts America has helped sell some cards. I could see where it would be important if I had a significant following.

Which artist should we all look up immediately? What art magazines, blogs or sites should art lovers be looking at?
Look to yourself and go to the Museums and Galleries that are as good as Museums.
Above all paint to please yourself.

Finish this limerick:
There once was an artist from…
There once was an Artist from New York City.
                                                       Who could not sell his art. Twas a pity.
                                                       He still kept on hoping and ended up roping
                                                       An old, ugly, grateful and rich biddy.

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