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Ian Nathan

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Ian Nathan’s route to the top of his contemporary wildlife and sometime figurative and landscape art game wasn’t exactly a well-trodden one if we’re being perfectly honest, and took in a lot of alternative vocational scenery en route to where he finds himself today. As one of the UK’s foremost fine art wildlife artists with an enviable reputation for producing stunning quality original paintings swans, foxes, elephants, otters, owls, et al from his studio, found tucked away in the small fishing village of Shaldon in Devon, on England’s South West coastal fringes. Born in 1954, Nathan’s childhood stomping ground was Teignmouth, where generations of his ancestors had carved livings from the local, maritime-based industry of fishing and lifeboat-manning.

Despite displaying a talent for drawing and painting during his formative years, Nathan’s predominant adolescent interests lay in more physical endeavours, with both boxing and dancing holding his attentions for much of his formative years. So much so, that in 1969 Nathan was invited to join London’s Royal Ballet where he trained for four years in total, during which time he was privy at close quarters to the one of the most famous dancing partnerships of all time – Fonteyn and Nureyev - dancing at Covent Garden. Yet ultimately Nathan arrived at the conclusion that performance dance wasn’t necessarily for him at the end of the day.

On reaching this cathartic decision, Nathan returned to more familiar surrounds in Teignmouth and in terms of career choice went from the sublime to the cor blimey in a series of vocational moves. Initially Nathan secured a role as a labourer on the local docks, before taking up successive positions as a boat builder and road-worker as he figured out precisely what he planned to do with the rest of his life, from a professional viewpoint at least. Fortunately, road-building’s loss turned out to eventually be the contemporary art world’s gain, as Nathan looked instead to the creative arts, and opted to attend a Graphic Design course. Again, a seemingly un-settled Nathan brought down the curtains on yet another potential career path prematurely, leaving after two years to concentrate on aspiring to become a full-time painter.

This proved to be the best move Nathan had made to date, as he finally hit on something he felt right doing, and clearly possessed a gift for, which had, as pointed out earlier, been recognised in his younger years yet at that juncture hadn’t gripped him enough to follow. But eventually fate led him back to his own future, as a run of exhibitions held by Torquay’s Triton Gallery thrust both the new artist and his art into the contemporary wildlife, landscape and figurative art spotlight, and essentially from where he’s never thrown a backwards glance. Nathan went on to collaborate with the Halcyon Gallery in 1990, and his first solo showcase resulted in 0nigh on every composition exhibited being sold out within the first hour. As mooted, alongside of his more habitual visual documenting of wildlife and their immediate and traditional natural environs, Nathan the artist has filled many a canvas surround pictorially recording the lives and travails of the local Devonian fishermen as their days of mussel and oyster-sourcing and sorting is played out on the beach a mere stone’s throw from Nathan’s studio space.