Brian Nash is a talented marketing director-turned-country musician-turned painter from the US. His works have the rare quality of singularity, each showcasing an unmistakable artistic aesthetic that this Nashville-based talent has spent years building up. From canine wake up calls to winding down with a book, read on to find out how he’s continuing its evolution.
Good morning, Brian! What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I walk my dog Rufus as soon as I wake up — his tugging at my covers is almost always the reason I’m awake in the first place — and then I’m ready to face the day.
What inspires you to create every day?
I’m inspired by pretty much everything. I might hear a joke that inspires a painting. Or a photograph might inspire me. Inspiration comes from everywhere.
What does your work space look like?
I live and work in my studio, which is close to downtown Nashville. Like a lot of urban neighborhoods, mine had fallen on hard times but is currently being gentrified. My building is over 150 years old, and was an abandoned car factory before it was converted to artists’ lofts.
I love my space. The floors are cement, the ceilings are 30 feet high, the beams are 12” thick wood, and the construction is completely solid, which is something you don’t tend to see in new buildings.
There are eight of us in the building, and we’re all involved in the arts in some way. It’s incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by other people who are creating.
Describe the core of your technique or style.
I don’t sketch or plan what I’m going to paint before I start. I generally just paint a background color, and then paint the main objects in white. Once that’s dry, I fill in the colors and add the details, and I let the painting evolve as I go. I’m drawn to painting multiple images of the same object, because I love the effect of seeing multiple versions of the same thing. I also love creating the ‘Museum’ paintings, the purpose of which is to often illustrate the way that artists influence fashion.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
I could not live without paint, canvas, and brushes! Other than that, my studio is spartan, and I like painting without any distractions like music or background noise.
How do you know or decide when an artwork is finished?
I think I have a gut instinct that tells me when a painting is finished. Otherwise, I’d be working on one painting for my entire life! It’s hard to point a finger at what tells me it’s finished; I just know.
What do you like to do to unwind after a day’s work?
I’m a big reader, and I try to read a book or two a week, usually sociology or non-fiction.
What’s your overall favorite aspect of the creative process?
Creating something that did not previously exist has been a thread throughout my career. My first job was in advertising, where I shepherded ad campaigns into existence. I then worked for Polo Ralph Lauren, where I helped design and build stores. I then wrote country music, creating hundreds of songs. And now I paint. There is something immensely pleasurable about leaving behind little bits of yourself.
I also like to make people happy, and the goal of my paintings is to make people smile. If I did that, I succeeded.