Trained in illustration in Belgium, Nathan Chantob is a portrait artist. His shift away from pictorial conventions has left him to draw and paint using instinct, seizing the viewer’s gaze with his raw and vulnerable work. This young artist has already seen great achievements before the age of 30 and has no intention of stopping now. This week, KAZoART takes a look at Nathan’s Chantob’s road to success.
Learning from his grandfather
It all began with Chantob’s maternal grandfather. As an artist whose life was overturned by the war, he had to choose a non-artistic path to raise his eight children. While Chantob was still a young child, his grandfather fell ill and took up painting once again.
After his grandfather’s death, Chantob was the only one of the grandchildren who inherited his unfinished paintings, his paint and his brushes.
I was six years old when he died. I received this gift and saw it as a mission from which I would never turn away. This was the point of departure for my artistic adventure.
His formal training as a painter and illustrator at the St-Luc Institute in Tournai, Belgium gave his all the keys he needed to step into the Contemporary art market and transform his passion into a profession.
Nathan Chantob: a Portrait of the human being
Drawing is an integral part of Nathan Chantob’s life. He experiments with all types of mediums and has never limited himself to only painting. Because he works from instinct the young artist works rigourously and feeds his creative process through his experiences.
Chantob systematically sketches his work before painting. Sometimes he sets out on several projects at the same time, his mind brimming with creative energy.
Inspired by Freud, Egon Schiele, Jenny Saville and Vivan Mayer, Chantob places the human figure at the centre of his work. Out of respect for the great artists that came before him, he strives to do right by his subjects and render them in an authentic light. A genuine representation is his highest priority.
Whether his subjects be relatives, friends, models or even fascinating strangers, Chantob’s portrayals seek to convey their inner darkness. Their tensions and anxieties are brought to the surface.
I prefer the term “researcher” to that of “artist”. I love asking questions, opening doors without knowing what’s waiting on the other side.
Whether it be on a street, in the metro, at a bar, any situation can lead to inspiration.
I want to encourage art without necessarily making art. It’s not like I’m going to be the only one to ever turn a painting into a work of art.
Nathan Chantob’s human figures reflect a society that is both abused and worrisome. Through his choice of tones and scope of expressions, his final product reveals dark, tortured and intimate portraits.
When all alone in front of a blank canvas or with a model, he listens to their stories, questions and challenges. Their spoken words are then materialised as his paint fills in the canvas with their disappointments, fears, hopes and everything in between. Set against a background of sublimated expressionism, his art is alive and engaging.
I’m not trying to convey anything at all. I’ll leave that to the public. This isn’t out of contempt. On the contrary, I want to avoid any form of propaganda, including messages of peace and love.
A promising career
Though he has not been on the art scene for very long, he has already acquired many prestigious awards including the Grand Prix Arbuste, the Special Prize of the National Society of Fine Arts in 2011, the Boesner Prize in 2015, and the Aralya Prize in 2016.
Whether in solo or collective exhibitions, Nathan Chantob has presented his work in countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, America, and France. In 2019 he did a live show in Saint-Maximin for the launch of the latest Porsche where he painted in real time.
In the future, Nathan Chantob aspires to strengthen his relations with northern Europe, which is easier said than done given the distance. But he is young and has time. He also plans to participate in prestigious competitions such as that of the Taylor Foundation. And he will of course continue to exhibit in galleries and salons. All this to say, Nathan Chantob is without doubt an artist to watch closely!
Sign up for the best art updates