My Interview with Nate Devarie

I saw Nate’s work when I was prepping for Somerville Open Studios. It’s a great event, if you’ve never been. This year there were more than 90 stops on the map and I made sure to visit almost all of them. But there were two artists I was hellbent on getting to know and getting on this podcast even before I met them. And Nate was one of them. 

#Success

Nate’s story is engaging, to say the least. In a way we’ve heard a version of his story dramatized in movies and television for decades. As a boy Nate was the eldest of four being raised in conservative christian household with an absent father. In high school he began wrestling with his sexuality and after an unhealthy sexual relationship (many would say abusive) with two much older men his mother discovers Nate’s journal. I can only imagine how panicked and scared she was being a mother myself. Nate attends three months of conversion therapy. Fast forward, and skipping a lot, Nate is now living in Somerville as an in-demand artist with his fiancee Jordan, who just happens to be a minister in the Methodist church. 

In the interview we spend a lot of time talking about Nate’s evolving relationship with God and church and how those two things, juxtaposed with his identity as a gay man, influence his often arresting, always fantastical scenes. What struck me about Nate during our interview is how little judgement he seems to hold in his heart. He understands his mother’s struggles and the decisions she made, he understands his grandmother’s reticence to attend his wedding this fall. Even even strives to understand his father’s point-of-view during the time. I’d use the word “forgive” but the forgiveness is heartily implied in how he describes his family. Despite everything he’s been through he’s moved past forgiveness, past acceptance and just is consumed with love for those in his life and what they’re able to offer him. 

I enjoyed my time with such a reflective and joyful man. And it is impossible for you to look at his work and not be moved. Check out the gallery below and you can find more of Nate’s work and info about upcoming shows at NateDevarie.com and on Insta @Nate_devarie.

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