Healing Through ChaosFrom the Artist - Nathan N. Nez Sr.:
For this room, I decided to go with two different styles and mediums that best define me as an artist: using spray paint and acrylic. I have used figures, symbols, and phases from Navajo culture. I chose three words which mean a lot to me and have helped me become who I am today as a husband, father, and Navajo artist. On the north wall I used the words Hozho and Yeego, putting the definition of the words above them. I painted corn because as I was growing up, I remember playing in the cornfield at my grandmother’s house. The hummingbirds are an interpretation of my mother’s grandkids and the bird on the basket is a representation of my mother. On the east wall, I used the word Diné and I painted a Hogan which will always be home to me. I love to paint a Hogan which for me means to stay humble and remember where I came from. My mother still lives in the same Hogan that my grandmother had lived in for many years. The south wall, I decided to illustrate paintings I have done in the last year that have made its way to their new homes all over the country. The meaning of the Hogan at the end is showing me this isn’t the end and there is a whole new world left to be discovered artistically.
About Nathan N. Nez Sr.
I am from Woodsprings, Arizona: a small community on the Navajo Nation. After high school, I joined the United States Army and was stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas for four years. I was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and now am a veteran of the Iraq war. When I returned home, I went down a dark path with drinking and using drugs without any solid foundation to call home. I felt lost. I lost my Hozho. In 2008, I met a woman who would change my life around for the better, and she is now my wife and the mother of my two kids. After moving to Albuquerque in 2013 I pursued my art dream. I received my Bachelors of Art in Art studios from the University of New Mexico in 2017. Today, I am proud to say I am drug and alcohol free and living with my family here in Albuquerque.
As a Navajo artist, I took new steps and a new direction with my style by going beyond boundaries of Native American art by including a collaboration of my graffiti style. I do value my traditions and culture giving much respect; however, I have learned to evolve and develop my style from the norm. I stay close to my culture, values, and roots. My family and friends have told me stories that turned into art. I also use art as an outlet to help deal with PTSD and so that keeps me grounded as well as pushing me to paint more.