My work displayed currently at the Toronto Designers Market is a collection of my scratchboard portraits of animals. Scratchboard is a masonite board, covered in white porcelain, and then painted black with ink. The images are created by using a metal quill to scratch away the black so that the white appears underneath. Texture, depth, and shadow are created by varying the pressure on the quill, the angle it is used, and repetition on the same spot. It is a painstaking process that cannot be corrected or mapped out ahead of time, so I build each image out slowly from the sides, keeping the proportion in my head the whole time. Each work, depending on textures, size, and complexity, can take from 10 to 35 hours. The original work currently displayed does not include commissions, donations, or those I have already sold, so each piece is for sale. Prints of almost all of my works can be purchased on site, or at the sites below.

I am an artist, photographer, and writer, who is captivated by the nature of humanity, and the humanity in nature. What do I mean by that? Well, I am interested in human motivations, why we do the things we do, our faults as well as our strengths. How we impact the world we inhabit, both through the environment and the animals that inhabit it. I have a great love of nature, so I am interested in illuminating the beauty I see in it, but also how we project ourselves onto nature. The personification of the animal portraits I have picked is made easier on the viewer due to the expressions portrayed on the faces of the creatures. I consider conservation efforts to be one of the key efforts for mankind going into the future, the protection of both habitats and the animals that inhabit them. The creation of animal portraits on scratchboard is a painstaking process where any excess stroke can ruin the work you have done, which in so many ways relates to the conservation process and the careful approach that must be taken.

It is a strange thing to try and sum yourself up in a personal biography, for you never are just one thing, one paragraph, but a collection of thoughts, viewpoints, experiences, and learning. I am an observer of the world. I try to take everything in that I can and distill it into both the large and small in my brain. The large parts come out in my writing, the ideas and patterns that help me make sense of the world. The small things become my art. I want to look at something and see it's overall beauty, but then go in deeper, then go deeper again until I can see each facet in its profound detail. An old oak tree is majestic in its expanse and strength, but the individual wispy strands of Spanish moss hanging off it are also exquisite in their patterns and form. A human can be beautiful in their form and features, the texture of the skin and colour of their hair can be captivating when looking closer, but the beauty of their intelligence, kindness, and empathy is there for those who can look closer still. The world is composed of layers upon layers of patterns, shapes, and textures, I just choose to consistently peel back those layers and look closer. My writing is based on the grand themes of life, but my art is all about showing people the world as I see it, the beauty that can reside in the details.

When I am creating art, I often try and elevate that which might not necessarily be considered beautiful. Other times I just try and capture that which is worth seeing in our world, sometimes images that might have gone unnoticed otherwise. In other words, my art just might be an attempt at elevating that which I consider important in this world.

For information about the work or commissions, please contact me through the info below. 

society6.com/nathancole
www.instagram.com/artist_ranger

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