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A reluctant muralist and two-time alumnus rises on the art scene

A reluctant muralist and two-time alumnus rises on the art scene

2020 has been a big year for Nathan “Nate Dee” Delinois, who is featured in a documentary about his work

October 6, 2020 at 3:45pm

Alumnus Nathan “Nate Dee” Delinois ’03, MFA ’08 has taken his artwork to new heights since he began painting murals throughout the Miami area. Once far more comfortable with completing his masterpieces in a studio setting, he made the switch several years ago, almost against his will.

“During an exhibition, the curator asked if I would like to do a mural outside of the building,” Delinois recalls. “I initially resisted, but after some pressure, I agreed to do it.” The request would prove pivotal.

“What I found in painting the mural was that I fell in love with interacting with the community as I painted the artwork,” he says. “People would stop and talk to me, ask about the work and even give feedback as well. This is a total 180 degrees from the isolation of the studio.”

Delinois has since fielded other offers to create public art and accepted commissions from organizations such as the Miami Heat, the Miami Dolphins and Adidas. He even earned an invitation to travel in 2017 to Seoul, South Korea, to participate in the Street Arts Awards Festival. He was the only American artist asked to join in the event. The experience opened his eyes to where his talent might take him.

“I could never have imagined that art would one day bring me to the other side of the globe,” he says.

Closer to home, Delinois got a chance earlier this year to exhibit at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential House, the residence of FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.

“I was completely honored,” Delinois says of being asked to show Creativity Nurtured. The painting depicts a young woman crading three foxes that together represent creativity. It caught the attention of Delinois’ former professor and current chair of the Department of Art + Art History David Chang, who helped organize the exhibition.

“I selected this piece because of the rich application of color and the dynamic composition successfully incorporating both the representational and abstract elements,” Chang says. “Creativity Nurtured presents the viewers with a compelling sense of visual, cultural, and intellectual discourse.” 

Delinois credits his Caribbean upbringing as highly influential in his work. Most of his art makes use of the bright colors typically found in Haitian art. And he calls out FIU professors Pip Brant, who instilled in him a love of painting, and Chang, who taught him the technical aspects of painting.

With the rise of public demonstrations across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Delinois collaborated with another local artist to create a mural that presents a unique perspective on the struggle of black Americans. A documentary explores the process of creating the mural and the message behind.

For students looking to pursue a career in the arts, the rising artist had this advice: “Always be obsessed with improving within your craft and approach it with the highest standard of professionalism,” he suggests. Spend time fostering relationships with people within the industry as well as peripheral industries, because that is how you will find opportunities to grow your career.”

And never say no to a mural!