Honest Art

Inside the Mind of Henry Nader

The first time his paintings were on public display Henry R. Nader watched through the gallery window. Rather than pushing himself, his views and his artistic intentions onto the viewers, he sat back, observed and let people experience his art in the most natural way possible: through their own curiosity with their own interpretation.

“I saw people having conversations around my pieces. I’m not sure what they had to say, but I’m happy to have sparked any conversation. Even if they were just talking about how much they hated it,” Nader recalled cheekily.

Henry R. Nader is a multifaceted artist based out of Jacksonville, and when I say multifaceted, I really mean total-faceted, as he does it all well. Nader’s utmost focus is filmmaking, having produced multiple full-length films independently and screened a few at Sun-Ray Cinema. But he’s productive in drawing, photography, music production and, most importantly for this piece, painting. Nader’s paintings feel otherworldly, but in reality they truly represent this world and the celebrations, mystery and darkness that comes with it. Nader not only uses painting as an emotional and creative release but as a tool for filmmaking.

He explained it this way, “Filmmaking is really expensive, so making paintings is kind of a way of capturing a frame, a scene, a good idea for obviously less money. It kind of has the same personal quality to it, though. What I try to bring to it, it’s a part of me, and it’s never to be commercial or to make money or to gain any kind of power, popularity or status.”

Nader draws inspiration from artists like Francis Bacon, Francisco Goya, Hieronymous Bosch and most importantly filmmaker David Lynch, in their dark themes, colors and sometimes graphic depictions of real life. Nader’s approach builds off of their work, but in a much more “playful way,” as he says, with a more cartoonist approach to figure drawing and color choices. He approaches his art in what he feels to be the most honest way. He stays away from social media, doesn’t work for hire, and each painting is a singular vision.

We talked at length about Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious. The collective subconscious is the idea that all human beings share a collection of thoughts, images and knowledge inherited through ancestral experience. It is also believed one’s ability to tap into it plays an important role in creativity.

Nader described tapping into his creativity like this, “I’ve always envisioned it as going into the woods deep at night, you know, in a dream, and you have to go through all this treacherous terrain, and there are people that are trying to betray you and steal things from you, and you have an empty cup, and you have to find this body of water, you fill it up and you bring it back. And you want to bring it back as pure as possible without spilling it out or [it] becoming tainted.”

He continued,  “So maybe the same truth Miles Davis was getting to is the same Picasso was getting to or David Lynch or whatever, as far as just raw kinetic energy and harvesting that. Everyone brings it back in different manifestations. Literature, painting, filmmaking, etc.”

Everyone brings it back in different manifestations, but Henry Nader is gifted enough to be able to tap into this honesty through different mediums. Keep your eyes open for upcoming film showings and gallery exhibits. You can support him and tap into his truth through his Patreon here. https://vimeo.com/henrynader?fbclid=IwAR2KOFVuWLzJeGssHziWIh-eYYNMhJ8wQm-HsGcDCN10WcM828vIVnHwn5M

About Vincent Dalessio

Vincent Dalessio is Folio Weekly’s Head Photographer and Writer. Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, he takes pride in resetting his roots in Duval County. Active in the skateboarding, surfing, rock climbing and outdoor recreation communities, he takes what he’s learned in his personal life and applies it to current issues facing these groups. His writing focuses on the environment, socio-demographic issues, biopics on community figureheads and stories on the communities he spends the most time in.