Nathan Carter speaks on his Nasher Exhibit: The Dramastics: A punk rock victory twister in Texas

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By Jade Taylor

Artists create in a multitude of forms; their work is often a result of inspiration. One such case is singer and artist Nathan Carter, who discussed his work and inspirations, particularly those that led to The DRAMASTICS. The exhibition is open for viewing at the Nasher Sculpture Center through Jan. 28, 2018.

Showing unrelated photos of musicians, airplanes, hairdos and subway maps, Carter explained that combining interesting photos can tell one larger story. He wanted to show that it doesn’t matter what you make as long as you’re making something.

Carter also focused on the relationship between creativity and fear—a vision from Sun Studios founder Sam Phillips. Carter reminded artists that it’s okay to make the mistakes you want to make to about 100 students, faculty and general public at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas Friday.

“Artists in general, the one thing that they all share, collectively, is that they operate in an internal world of fear, anxiety, self-doubt and insecurity,” Carter said. “I wish that when I was [a high school student] that someone had told me that—to act on my inspirations and obsessions.”

Carter was born in Dallas and grew up with an artistic family in Boston. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and earned his masters of fine arts from Yale University.

Carter now lives in Brooklyn. He teaches drawing and sculpture at Princeton University. He has participated in group exhibits as well as his own exhibits in venues all over the world, including exhibits in Guadalajara, Paris, Houston and Denver.

“He is a fantastic artist. The work is a lot of fun. It worked well with the Nasher and it involves a lot of things that our collections are involved in,” Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick said. “I love that with The DRAMASTICS, you see the inspiration. It’s a whole environment of everything he made connected in The DRAMASTICS and then the film.”

For years, Carter was known as a sculptor until he started to make 10-inch paper figures, mounting them to wire and giving them names, personalities and backstories as musicians. He then created his first film called “The DRAMASTICS are Loud” in 2017. The 30-minute debut features four high school graduate girls who organize a punk rock ‘n’ roll band. The film shows their journey as they rise to stardom and ends with a world tour performance.

Carter grew up during the early ages of rock and hip-hop music; he went to concerts and admired the musicians and sets. Carter always wished he could be in a girl band but knew he lacked all aspects of gender and skill, so he created one.

“It was really interesting and really, really good. I liked that the still-life people just fly around the film,” an art student at Booker T. Washington said. “I liked his inspiration photos, like the cityscapes and the maps of the subway and stuff. And I also like the process, like how you can see the different ways that the characters development, like character design references.”

The exhibition is the culmination of three years of production. Now, Carter is already thinking about his next film.

“When you go to a party, really go to a party. Always draw on the go. Don’t take any sh*t. Have a clue. Hold tight. Teach the youth. Stay fit. Follow your obsessions. And don’t forget to L-O-V-E,” Carter said.

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