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World Reports

To reflect and preserve

Nate Walker paints to celebrate the natural world’s beauty, and to provoke thought and action in its defense

The saying, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer!” has traditionally been used with greatest effect on someone caught looking at you for too long. These days, unfortunately, the phrase could be used as a comment on our environment. The dilemma of every environmentally-aware artist is how to not just document nature, but help preserve it. Nathan Walker, a 26-year-old Massachusetts artist, is drawing his own conclusions on how to do just that.

     Walker developed his love for nature during his childhood in the forests of New Hampshire. He credits his high school biology teacher with encouraging him to combine his artistic talents with his concern for the planet.

     Walker’s vivid artwork provides a unique commentary on the state of the world. Walker’s images go beyond capturing beauty, causing viewers to think more deeply about the issues.

     On his web site, (www.nathanwalker.net), Walker says: “While art can’t save the world, ideas and actions most certainly can. And since imagery has been used throughout history to disseminate ideas to the populace, today should be no different. It is for this reason that I use art as a means of promoting social and environmental awareness.”

     Walker’s illustrations reflect his concern over a vast number of environmental issues, such as water quality, genetic engineering, America’s over-dependence on SUVs, and animal rights. (See his illustration of LFA sonar on page 22.) His website contains dozens of images, each with a deceptively childlike quality that belies a darker message.

      “I want people to have a visceral reaction to my illustrations, but I also want to reach people on an intellectual and subliminal level. My overall goal is to promote awareness and to counter the mass media, which is a strong force in terms of getting out messages from corporate voices. I believe I am successful when I can get people to think about things more critically, question their assumptions, or jolt them into putting their own beliefs into action.”

     Although his career is still in the early stages, Walker has already produced an impressive body of work. He infuses his artwork with a well-rounded mix of intelligence, humor, wit, and most obviously, compassion for the planet. Hopefully, both his artwork and the nature that inspires it will be around for many future generations to enjoy.

   

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