Nathan Plung

West Richland, Washington |

Artist Statement

Unlike most artists who are drawn to their profession by an aesthetic vision of the world around them, my artistic disposition arises from perspectives shaped by personal challenges—a lifelong reckoning of who I am, how the world sees me, and how I want the world to see me.

Born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, I was steered at a young age to cross-stitch to improve my right hand’s fine motor skills. Only as I escaped from the boundaries of simple kits to creating stylized representations of great artworks and then to a succession of portraiture styles did I find that reinvigorating an old art form gave me not only a voice but also offered the opportunity to redefine a medium not previously explored as an art form.

The individualism of both voice and medium gave expression to what otherwise might have been hidden away by my physical challenges and all the associated societal challenges that people with handicaps experience during day-to-day life. And as art and life continuously merge, I have further expanded my personal and professional goals to reflect my strengthened sense of self. I work at an agency that assists intellectually challenged adults, completing both an undergraduate degree and classes in Disability Studies and assisting with projects like a community garden accessible to handicapped and individuals who use wheelchairs. 

Sometimes art results from a vision of the world, defining its colors, the media chosen, the subject matter, and its style. Sometimes, however, as in my case, that is only half the inspiration. Art is also a means of sharing something with my audience about meeting and overcoming challenges and allowing those challenges to become an artistic statement.