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Artist Nathaniel Bustion is a Jack-of-all-trades, and is a master of all of them. An artist all his life, Bustion works with a number of different materials. He is a sculptor who works with clay, bronze, pottery, concrete, wood, cooper, and he is also a print maker. No matter what form of art Bustion is doing, his life is entrenched in his work.
“I live art work,” Bustion said. “Artwork is my life. I live it every day. I’m always doing my own artwork, or working on films, or working on a publication or something, pr involved in some process that involves kids. It is an on going process. It’s a living experience.”
Bustion, who is from Gadsden, Alabama, said that his name comes from French indentured slaves from New Orleans. His grandparents introduced him to art at a young age.
“Back in the South in the ‘40s, your grand parents raised you while your people went to work,” Bustion said. “My grandparents taught me all the skills about art. I used to make little houses, carve soap. Music played a great role.”
Bustion received formal training at Colorado State, Belgium Antwerp Academy of Art, and Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Bustion has his own studio, and has taught art at Otis, Los Angeles City College, Pomona College, Colorado St., and in Nigeria.
Bustion’s work has been used in television and films, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, In Living Color, Soul Food, Hanging with Mr. Copper, Living Single, and the Jamie Foxx Show.
Bustion points out that the business side of art is just as important as the artwork itself.
“It’s all nice that you learned all these techniques and processes and everything, but how are you going to survive, how are you going to eat, how are you going to feed your family,” Bustion said. “How are you going to go about marketing your art?
“You should have a portfolio so you can versify on all those different levels, because the are should be a part of all of that,” Bustion said.
Bustion’s works have been on display at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Thomas Hall Art Gallery in Dallas, the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, the FDG Art Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Altadena Library, among other places.
Bustion has been commissioned to do work at the George Boone Cultural Sculpture garden in San Marino Ca, Ramona Middle School’s Clay Tiles Wall Mural in Los Angeles, for the President of Colorado State University, and for the Soul Food TV series.