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Local artist Nathan Little-Warner talks about art and politics, ETSU FL3TCH3R Exhibit

Brandon Paykamian • Oct 22, 2018 at 9:45 AM

For Johnson City artist Nathan Little-Warner, art plays an important role in addressing contemporary sociopolitical problems.

“Art offers a way to really understand certain things some people may not necessarily understand just from hearing it coming from someone's mouth. You see someone’s own interpretation of it,” he said. 

Because of this, the East Tennessee State University graphic design alumni began working on a piece entitled “America 2018” in May. When he finished his piece in August, he submitted it for the sixth annual “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social & Politically Engaged Art,” an exhibit that features a variety of artists at ETSU’s Reece Museum touching on social and political topics.

Little-Warner, 24, said his piece touches on the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. 

“The image itself is a hand holding a revolver with an overlay of an American flag over the hand. With all the mass shootings going on, I felt that America was going to be known for the largest amount of mass shootings as far as the civilian population,” he said. “I feel that the purpose of the exhibit is really important considering circumstances in today’s world of politics and social issues.”

Little-Warner’s work was featured at last year’s exhibit as well. Last year, he submitted a piece addressing the environmental controversy surrounding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline running through Appalachia entitled “Kids Breathe Air, Not Natural Gas.” But his artistic skills serve many purposes besides addressing social issues, he said. 

“My style of art has always included elements of graphic design as far as communicating something, whether it’s an idea, a product or message. I tend to jump from one subject to another, but I have done a lot of art that was politically-based,” the California native said.

“I’m always looking for different exhibitions for different subject matters, and I’m also looking for different positions in graphic design in the world of advertising. I’ve considered branching out to other regions to do so,” he continued. “Even though I’m doing that and may focus on that more, art is always going to play a role in what I do.”

This year, Little-Warner’s piece entitled “America 2018” is featured among hundreds from 140 artists working with various materials and through multiple mediums. For more information on the exhibit, which will run until Dec. 14, visit www.etsu.edu/reece or www.FL3TCH3Rexhibit.com

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