Radford University graduate student featured on Watercolor Artist list
Nathan Popp, a graduate student in the Radford University Department of Art, is one of nine artists featured on the 2013 Watercolor Artist "Ones to Watch" list.
Watercolor Artist is a national magazine dedicated to showcasing the best work in the watercolor medium. It produces the "Ones to Watch" list annually as an introduction to up-and-coming watercolorists.
At RU, Popp is working towards an MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in watercolor. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in watercolor at the University of North Texas in Denton in 2008.
In his interview with Watercolor Artist, Popp discusses his unique technique of adding dry materials such as salts and synthetic urea (chemical fertilizer) to wet-on-wet painting. When the urea is added to wet paint on synthetic watercolor paper it creates unique crystals when dried. Popp uses the resulting abstract shapes and textures as inspiration to paint his landscapes which often incorporate symbols of life, growth and death.
"The duality of nature and the cycle of life are important to my body of work," Popp said. "Nature can be beautiful and awe-inspiring but can also be destructive and violent."
Popp is a student of Z.L. Feng, an acclaimed watercolorist and professor of art at RU, who has frequented the pages of Watercolor Artist. Professors such as Feng and others in the field recommend to the magazine artists who use watercolor in a unique or creative way. This year Feng recommended that Popp submit his art for inclusion.
"I enjoy Nathan’s surreal landscapes where trees and roots become the subject," Feng said, celebrating Popp's unique symbolism.
The 2013 "Ones to Watch" list is featured in the December issue of Watercolor Artist, which is available on newsstands now.