A Tulsan is among the first 12 participants of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.
Tulsan Nathan Young is among 12 artists from across the country who comprise the inaugural class of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. The TAF provides a stipend of $20,000, free housing and work space to fellows, who must reside in Tulsa for the duration of the fellowship. The program is designed to recruit and retain artists to contribute to the city’s art scene.
Tulsan Nathan Young is one of 12 artists from nine states who will comprise the inaugural class of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a Tulsa-based artist recruitment and retention program funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
The artists work across the disciplines of public art, sculpting, installations, painting, weaving and more. Starting this month, the fellows will live and work here and participate in community art events, further enhancing Tulsa’s art culture.
Young, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is one of two Oklahoma artists chosen (the other is Crystal Campbell of Oklahoma City).
What is conceptual art? Conceptual art is art in which the concept or ideas involved in the work take precedence over the formal or visual components of the art works. One important component of conceptualism is that the articulation of an artistic idea suffices as a work of art. Because of this idea, conceptual art can take on myriad forms, such as performances, events and ephemera. I’ve created works that have taken the form of books, poetry, performance, sculpture, sound installations and video.
I approach conceptual art in my practice by moving freely across various media and forms, utilizing them as vessels or carriers to articulate the ideas that I’m interested in exploring or expressing.
How long have you been doing this? For the past 10 years I’ve been exhibiting conceptual artwork internationally with an indigenous artist collective I co-founded called Postcommodity.
How has your Native American and Oklahoma ancestry enhanced your success as an artist? The contemporary story of Oklahoma American Indian life is something that I feel deeply compelled to tell. Sometimes I describe my work as Oklahoma Gothic or American Indian Gothic as a way to characterize the sometimes surreal, complicated, confusing and sometimes darker side of the American Indian experience.
I grew up in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and have been surrounded by American Indian politics and culture. I’ve watched tribes grow from small social service delivery organizations to multi-billion dollar industries in my lifetime. I’ve seen how this has affected our communities and the overall perception of our communities to the outside world.
Sometimes there is absolutely no reference to my Indian heritage or experience at all in my work. For instance, I have an ongoing project that deals purely with the canon of minimalist music.
As a TAF fellow, what will you be doing? I’ll be developing performance pieces for large community groups, large-scale sound installations, video art, works on paper and sculptural work. I’ll be participating in and attending all TAF events like open studios, exhibitions of fellows’ works and artists’ talks, and look forward to giving talks about my own work and research.
To learn more about The Tulsa Artist Fellowship, visit www.gkff.org/taf.