Sioux Lookout artist merges two worlds
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
A local artist is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his peers. Nathan Monias is a Sioux Lookout resident who grew up in Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba. Monias has been working for the past four years to develop his skills as an artist after putting aside artistic endeavors for much of his youth. As Monias explained, he only began to rediscover his love of creating art fairly recently, stating, “About four years ago, four summers ago I think it was. I’ve always had an interest in art and I just never attempted to actually pursue it, to practice in it. I’ve always had my thoughts in art, and I was always interested in art, so finally I went to a Michaels (art supply store) when I was away and picked up a few canvases and acrylics, and decided to just go for it and jump in. I never did art in high school, I had art class but I was never really interested. It was just an art class. But when I was younger, I used to sketch. I was really into it, but as I grew up, I lost interest.”
Once he took up painting, he looked to the artists who had impacted him as a youth growing up in a northern community. “In the back of my head, I’ve always had that interest. I grew up looking at Jeff Monias, Ron Disbrowe, David Disbrowe, a lot of the Native artists in the northern communities. That’s what I grew up with. I was always interested in that type of artwork. There are a lot of pieces by David and Ronald in Red Sucker, where I come from, so that’s where I had seen a lot of their work.”
To date Monias has experimented with both Woodland style pieces and more naturalistic art, derived from his experiences growing up in a small community in northern Manitoba. “Again, I grew up in a northern community surrounded by nature, so that’s part of the interest. And I think Woodland style is actually beautiful with the vibrant colors added to it. Not a lot of people find a balance, between the two (styles). I’m still learning both realism and woodland. Eventually I would like to grow that into something, a blend that I can do.”
Along with looking to the past for inspiration Monias also looks to the future, exploring the potential of digitally created pieces. As he explains, “I’m jumping right into digital art so I’m learning that process as well. I’m not leaving acrylic on canvas; I’m just practicing both at the same time. I recently bought an iPad Pro, so that’s what I’m learning on, with Procreate (a digital illustration app). I’m learning from scratch; I don’t really know anything in technology so I’m (working on) learning that. My latest piece is a moose in a misty lake, that’s one of my first pieces in digital art.”
Asked whether he’d had any sales of his works, Monias was rather pragmatic, saying, “Every now and then…but I haven’t really been selling locally. When the pandemic hit, I couldn’t really leave town, I couldn’t travel. Everything that I post online is available (for purchase). Sometimes people can’t afford original art, it’s kind of a hard sell.” Those wishing to further explore Nathan Monias’ art can find his work on Instagram at NathanMonias_art located at https://www.instagram.com/nathanmonias_art/?hl=en.