Nate Mohler: Painted Cities

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Nate Mohler is an emerging media artist who works with technology as a paint brush to build conceptual and avant-garde experiences through digital art. A 2019 UCLA graduate with a B.A. in Design | Media Arts, Mohler is intrigued with the fusion of conceptual art and technology to support connectivity and social activism with unconventional space and sound. His work focuses on eliciting action and question through digital mediums such as projection mapping, immersive installations, sculpture and video art. Mohler treats each project as an opportunity to evoke emotion, challenge thought, or support social change. 

His most recent project “6ft — apart” was an installation with two monolithic sculptures encapsulating a reflection of anxiety and discomfort, hung in limbo and free to sway or fall. Mohler’s abstraction of video and sound were sourced from found footage of police brutality incidents crowdsourced by people across the country. As videos of police brutality become so common and so frequent in America, Mohler wanted to capture the size and emotion of the civil rights movement in a different light. Two boards were projection mapped and tracked in space with HTC Vive Trackers to allow viewers to walk up and push or spin the boards. Spinning and dancing among themselves, alone but together.

In March before Eric Garsetti closed LA, Mohler along with collaborators Matea Friend and William Wharton premiered “[Be]coming to Terms” an experiential installation that aimed to capture the grim terms and conditions we’ve created between ourselves and nature. Projected video on hung fabric illuminated the sculpture revealed the connecting forces between all matter. Quantum systems, neural pathways, electrical firings, mycelial growth, lightning, rainfall and tree bark were woven together to create a visual understanding of how these systems build off of and create one another. The floating mountain set in an industrial warehouse was a microcosm for the contract between human + nature. The installation allowed a dynamic interaction to unfold as we came to terms with the chaos and one another.

Mohler’s largest project to date is “Culver Current”, a water-less digital fountain and sculpture in Culver City at City Hall. Culver Current offers a mesmerizing way to understand the social landscape of Culver City as it exists via the online community. Rather than physical water, the fountain sources its flow from digital activity within the city’s geographic borders, allowing for a reflection of the city’s otherwise intangible community. Each new day the people of Culver City are the substance and energy for the fountain. It allows viewers and participants alike to influence digital droplets (which make up the fountain) by tagging #CulverCurrent or #CulverCity in posts on social media including Instagram and Twitter, constantly revitalizing an ever-evolving communal current. 

Previously Mohler worked for Refik Anadol who was a serious mentor and hero for him. He also created touring visuals for artists such as Louis the Child. Most recently he was creating projection shows for the Jewel Fountain in Singapore during a short stint at WET design. At the end of last year he finished two huge gallery installations “Rise and Fall” and “The Eventual Unraveling of Everything“.

His series “Painted Cities” on SuperRare explores the memory and dream state of a city through the fusion of motion and ink. The digital paintings are created using a unique technique he’s been researching which includes multiple forms of Ai especially Neural Style Transfer to fuse videos with ink, texture, and photographs. It often takes weeks of testing and research before discovering perfect synergy between motion and texture.
The pieces for this series cover painted memories of Rome, London, Los Angeles, and elsewhere soon to be announced. Created specifically to disrupt the fine art world and challenge the culture of collecting paintings, Mohler hopes these pieces further the digital art movement and open the eyes of traditional collectors to digital mediums that are conceptual, thought provoking, and engaging even while living on a screen. 

Mohler’s first release was called “Rome” which was bought by Kaio and his second piece is called “City on City” which dropped on Monday Feb. 1st.

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