Thursday, November 20, 2008

Art Space Talk: Roy Nachum

At first glance the paintings by Roy Nachum can easily be confused with digital art. However, his works are actually oil paintings on canvas that are painted in a way that spurs the viewer to investigate further. Nachum creates his images by utilizing the idea of pixels. Each ‘pixel’ is painted one-by-one. The end result is a painting that comes together in a unique manner. Nachum describes this as creating micro worlds that come together in order to form the pattern of a single reality or of a dream. Nachum studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem, Israel. He also studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. Roy Nachum has exhibited frequently in Israel and the United States.

Brian Sherwin: Roy, you studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem and at the Cooper Union School of Art in NYC. Can you discuss your academic years? For example, did you have any influential instructors?

Roy Nachum: Studying at Bezalel (the Arts Academy in Jerusalem) provided me with an extraordinary, intensive, and very powerful experience. The need to create and the desire to work has always tempted me, from the time I was a young child, and has led me to achieve only the best – mediocre was unacceptable for me.

There were a number of teachers at Bezalel who changed my life by showing me new perspectives. The teacher for drawing, David Nefo, definitely made me stop and think. He taught me that every color stain on the canvas should be made only after taking a deep long look at the object – exactly like a lion plans its attack on its prey. It was there that I explored the concept in which you can create a whole world by connecting one spot of color to another – it's amazing how different colors work together to create a perfect harmony.

When I arrived at Bezalel, there was a student exchange program – something which greatly interested me. I wanted to go to the Arts Academy Cooper Union in New York, considered to be one of the most prestigious academies in the world. Every year only one excelling student is selected out of thousands of students from Bezalel. Because of my excellence in studies-- I had a very high grade average for several years-- I was sent to study at Cooper Union.

When I arrived at Cooper Union I thought that I already knew everything. After a few classes I realized that this was only the beginning. My perception as an artist sharpened incredibly. It was like knowing how to do something but now actually having to do it. My studies at Cooper provided me with a deeper and stronger experience that strengthened my perception as an artist.

BS: How did the transition from living in Israel to living in the United States influence your work? Have your travels played a role in your development as an artist?

RN: Though it was difficult, the move from Israel to the United States felt natural, because my goals and aspirations were greater than ever. My daily coping and the cultural differences opened new horizons for me and provided me with new interests around which to create and reach new subjects.

BS: Your oil paintings often appear as if they are digital images composed of thousands of pixels. My understanding is that you utilize a palette knife in order to create this ‘pixel’ appearance within the context of your paintings. Each ‘pixel’ is created one by one. Can you discuss this process further?

RN: I’ve transported on my canvases a mix of my imaginary world and my real life. The works represent part of my memories and my dreams as well as binary reading of real and unreal elements. Each pixel is created hand made, one by one, by a palette knife and so creates something that gives a unique meaning to each pixel. It is like one micro world existing in each of them, but when you look at the paintings from afar each pixel looks alike and so they give the feeling of thousands of micro worlds together creating a large pattern of a single reality or of a dream.

This different technique also creates the desire of a physical approach to the piece, inviting people to feel and touch every pixel and also to bring them into a kind of dualistic experience that finds the virtual and physical coming together in one unique moment.

BS: Can you discuss some of your direct influences? Perhaps you can give us a glimpse of your thought process concerning those influences?

RN: I am influenced by everything that surrounds me. I tend to examine daily behaviors of different people, what makes them do the things they do and why-- what they take for granted and why they do that. Thought, making and results – this is the origin of my inspiration.
I'll give you an example: a cup of water, what seems simple and obvious - the cup is resting there and will always be there. But what is the cup of water, what is it doing there, where did it come from and where is it going? If you have ever tried to look at a cup of water differently and deeper then you can see how many colors, stains, and variations there are in one cup of water. This is the origin of understanding and thinking and connecting to the real thing.

BS: Your work was exhibited by Moti Hasson Gallery at Scope Hamptons, correct? Can you discuss that experience? Also, what do you think about art fairs in general? Do you enjoy them?

RN: For years I worked and pushed to always achieve more and more in art. The relationship people have with my paintings and their own dilemmas drove me to more and more exhibitions. During those years I received unbelievable non-stop support from my parents. My mother and father are strong people with a good grasp on life, the desire to be real – something that I grew up with my whole childhood. The exhibit that I put together with Motti Hasson in the New York Hamptons was in a kind of coming-out. I personally am not drawn at all to group exhibitions. I prefer to exhibit alone.
BS: Finally, what are you working on at this time? Also, will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?
RN: For the last 3 years I have been working on an incredible exhibit which will soon be released. It is a new process in my development and was created as an evolution of my past. This is a new thing that combines a daily look at man with new thought. This is definitely going to be new and different than anything that is exhibited today. The combination of something very abstract and something so realistic on the same canvas.
You can learn more about Roy Nachum and is art by visiting his website-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

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