We had the good fortune of connecting with Nathan Kwan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nathan, why did you pursue a creative career?
Honestly? There just isn’t much else I’m capable of. A toddler, a pack of crayons, too many back pats, and boom: You have a future artist. Creatives are absolute failures at being content, leading us to both exhilarating journeys of growth and self-destructive spirals of doubt. May seem counterintuitive, but I find it worth it. The cycle of trying, failing, and repeating is a taxing one, but the repetition took me to where the cycles are increasingly reduced to just trying and repeating. As unsure as an electric vehicle stock, the creative journey is a slow investment that only possibly can bring a fruitful outcome. I’m still uncertain, but margins of improvement are always gratifying in hindsight. Technique became my obsession, but as my aesthetic tastes matured as I did, my addiction transitioned into that of using technique only as a vehicle for storytelling. Stories whether conveyed visually or literarily, have the incredible abilities to deliver spectrums of emotion and thoughtful messages that influence all walks of life. This is what makes the stigma of the “useless arts” moot. I sound so pretentious right now. I like to draw and write things for animation, film, and children’s books because I want to have that level of reach with my stories and I don’t really know how to do anything else. I also like to just make things to give myself or others a laugh. Just because we can always use one.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My main insecurity artistically was struggling to find my unique voice: something people can associate with my name. After a strenuous trial and error, I discerned that it wasn’t that I didn’t know what I liked, rather, it was I simply liked everything. I’ve since grown to embrace my eclecticism, and I find that ease of being bored is what makes the pursuit exciting. Burnout is very real and I’m always at the mercy of creatively stretching thin, so there is even a trial and error in achieving work-life balance. I’ve thankfully found my rhythm, so hopefully that staves off the monster of burnout for the time being. It’s funny that creatives are aware that being the best is impossible in a subjective field, yet we still are aiming to be the objective best. Our respective, subjectively objective bests. I’m no exception, just that I have a lot more things than the usual to try to be the best at. Sorry, my subjective best.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since the pandemic I’ve relocated out of Los Angeles and- Ah yes, the legends ring true. What is the layman’s idea of riveting youthful nightlife filled with adrenaline? Did you say Plano, Texas too? The suburb where teenagers spend their proms in IKEA? Yeah, exactly, that’s the one. I spent my first college years coast to coast and traveling has been prevalent in my childhood, so I’ve come to appreciate my hometown in recent years. I’m also a bit of an exception, since I look and am 21 but inside I’m ancient. Quiet, clean, spacious, safe, and diverse. There isn’t much more I could ask for, except the relative lack of a creative scene. Fun fact, Movoto Real Estate blogged the top 10 most boring cities in America and we landed a sweet sixth place. Come on down and check out our ethnic grocery stores and cheap gas prices.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a nod towards fine artist Nelum Walpola for her mentorship in both my art and life. As where most visual art starts, I was given fundamentals in drawing and painting as a child until my discovery of comic books, which immediately seized my focus and time. We bickered about my mad descent into the world of cartooning, and she eventually gave way. Rather than opposing my animated rebellion, she supplied me with the tools, resources, space, and encouragement to sharpen my hobby throughout my adolescence, shaping the foundation of how I create til this day.