Nathan Beard Act-Belong-Commit Artist on the Move

Act-Belong-Commit artist talk with Nathan Beard at Geraldton Art Gallery, 2018. Image courtesy of Geraldton Art Gallery.

Creative endeavour: “Investigations into the way a sense of culture and identity is inherited and challenged through a range of diverse audiences.”

“I feel that I’ve created a sense of community and allyship amongst other artists and curators whose work explores similar personal perspectives through specific cultural connections.”

Artist Nathan Beard

About the Artist
Nathan is a Perth-based interdisciplinary artist who works across a range of mediums including ceramics, videos, textiles and photography. Since graduating from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Arts (Art) in First Class Honours, Nathan has won numerous awards, debuted exhibitions and engaged in residences abroad, particularly in Asia.  His work investigates the way sense of culture and identity is linked and is deeply influenced by his Thai-Australian heritage. Nathan is a prominent artist in our touring exhibition Dead Centre, which explores and celebrates marginalised identities, provoking audiences to re-define the Australian social landscape. Read on to explore Nathan Beards’ artistic and personal journey.

How did you get started in your career?
I began harbouring more curiosity towards my mother’s family in Thailand which conceived a collaborative project that formed the basis of my Honours. Honours was extremely influential on my career path. Working with the guidance and mentorship of my passionate supervisor Annette Seeman, who was interested in the same academic and historical contexts as me, gave me the confidence to continue reshaping my practice to reflect the myriad influences of my family life and consider how this reflected broader themes and movements in its cultural and narrative specificity.

What part do audiences play in your creative practice?
Audiences are hugely important to gauging the success of my work, and the clarity and honesty of the ideas and emotions it’s trying to communicate. I’m conscious when making work that an audience needs to be able to understand a range of specific cultural references they may not be familiar with, so it’s always important for me to try and calibrate my work to these expectations without losing the specificity that makes it exciting for me to keep producing.

How does your creative practice impact your mental and physical health and wellbeing?
Maintaining a creative practice means that I’m constantly searching for influences. Maintaining an active sense of curiosity and social engagement amongst my creative peers is satisfying for my mental health and has led to many rewarding friendships.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with community members considering participating in arts activities?
Being able to reflect upon culture and participate in it through the arts is an extremely rewarding thing. It nourishes you in so many ways – intellectually, spiritually, emotionally; and there is no incorrect way to participate with art on your own terms. It allows for so many stimulating types of connection and reflection that carries over into other aspects of your life.

This Act-Belong-Commit Engagement Program presented by ART ON THE MOVE is sponsored by Healthway promoting the Act-Belong-Commit health message.