Piecing Life Back Together Amidst Hardship

Riddled with gang violence, drugs and crime, the Robert Taylor Homes public housing project located on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, is certainly not that ideal place to be raised. But for Nathaniel Mary Quinn an upbringing in such a toxic environment was a reality. Despite his surroundings, which included a family of high school drop outs, Quinn did what he could to persevere through school. His hard work even resulted in the young man receiving a scholarship to go to boarding school. Although while Quinn was away at boarding school his mother had passed away. Shortly after his mother’s passing, Quinn returned home only to find out that his family has abandoned him at the tender age of 15.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Movin’ Down The Line (2018). Black charcoal, gouache, soft pastel, oil pastel, acrylic gold leaf on Coventry Vellum paper. 38 x 38 inches. M+B Gallery, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the artist and M+B. Photos by Jeff McLane.

Now in his 40’s, Nathaniel Mary Quinn is able to look back with some type of appreciation. Quinn’s artwork allows him to attempt to put pieces of his broken family and childhood back together through creative expression. Quinn’s hardships from earlier in his life is what drives the creation of his art. That rough past put him in a perfect position to be teaching similarly disadvantaged youth before he chose to become a full time painter in New York.

Taking a closer look into the work that Quinn puts out one could easily mistake his work for that of a collage piece. When in fact, Quinn’s pieces are hand drawn with a mood board of a variety of images from magazines and the internet. What gives each part of his work the unique elements they all embody is the fact that while Quinn works on a particular portion of his work, he will cover the rest of the piece as a means to keep set each part apart from the next.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Buck Nasty Players Haters Ball, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94.

With Quinn’s art being featured in Los Angeles, New York, and even London, Quinn is certainly rising up amidst the art scene. So this therapeutic form of expression is able to heal Quinn with every stroke as well as provide the world with irreplaceable pieces. Quinn has more shows scheduled in the coming months/ year(s). Perhaps with such a bright looking future, Quinn will be able to indirectly continue to inspire the disadvantaged youth into giving them hope for their non-ideal situations they are systematically placed in.

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