Painting the Town and Its People


March 9, 2022

Words by: Mona Butler

Nathan Panousis’ art is all around us - from the walls of our city to the bare skin of those who walk it.

For artist Nathan Panousis, painting murals and tattoos both come from a desire to alter things from their origins, as both are used to tell a story and give a sense of personality.

“The desire to take the effort that is harnessed in quiet moments of practice, and display it to alter and change the world around me and others is truly the passion that fuels both aspects of my artistic practice,” said Nathan.

If tattooing and painting murals are the body of his career, drawing is the spine that holds it upright. It plays a part in both, and it’s what he traces his love of art back to, though he can’t pinpoint exactly when this love began. It’s just always been. “Some of my earliest school memories are of me doodling dogs in kindergarten and the interest has just grown from there!”

Around 8 years ago, Nathan stepped back into art after taking time to pursue his musical career. He found himself wanting to return to the slower pace of visual art. He then spent some time honing what he wanted to represent with his art and compiled a body of work that would become the leverage for his place in the city’s art scene. 

“My first big break was the city’s ‘YEG Canvas’ initiative which gave emerging artists a platform to display their work at large scales around town. From there, my love affair with public work and large-scale projects only deepened and I have since been fortunate to show many of my large-scale works throughout Edmonton’s public and private sector.”

Nathan describes arriving at his art style in a subtle and organic way. As he grew more confident, he moved away from attempting to emulate artists he admired and towards defining the unique characteristics that make his art his own. Eventually, he looked around and found that he could no longer find work that looked like his.

“I’ve always described my work as ‘spiritual icons for the modern world’. It borrows the esoteric imagery that permeates much of the world’s spiritual art and tells a story through the use of contrasting colors, values and line work. My work explores the power of intent and devotion in our current time and attempts to create a visual symbology that links these ideas to those of the past.”

Nathan’s mind is on his next solo show – combining mediums, technologies, and philosophies into a new series of paintings. But that’s not all he’s considering as he looks to the future.  “I look forward to seeing how my balance and relationship with the creative process changes while exploring these new mediums and what my strides into the world of tattooing will teach me about myself and my work.”

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