Nick Flatt: $ex $ells

Originally published on Visionary Artistry Mag with photos here:

People are constantly flooded with sales pitches. We’re past the point of selling products. Now, we’re being sold the idea that we need more. Even though we may have plenty, we need moremoney, we need more sex or we need more food. Nick Flatt’s art uses those same images to remind us that we’re being sold something and to help fight that.

“The paintings and sculpture are about the things we want, and how the need to obtain these vices influence our everyday lives,” Flatt explained on his official website.

Take a look at any ad. You’ll see a clean cut look. A perfect person is ready to sell you just the thing you need to achieve the American Dream. In order to achieve this, there are models who have a very commercial look – usually a white woman who’s thin, but not too thin with long, precisely styled hair, straight pearly white teeth and large eyes covered in makeup, but not too much is ready to sell you something. This specific look of a model is exactly what Flatt uses to show society how ridiculous this is.

Not only do the models have a specific look, but they have a specific goal. A lot of Flatt’s pieces are sexual. Naked women are presenting you with something to make it even more appealing. His sculpture “Buy This. Get Chicks.” features a model of a patchwork naked woman with long, blonde hair straddling an all white motorcycle. The posing looks rigid. It looks forced, odd and uncomfortable – which is exactly the point.

“Their extreme, lascivious gestures distort our desire to the point of discomfort,” art websiteStreet Art & Graffiti said about Flatt’s pieces. “By exposing the cheap triggers employed by these glossy glamazons, Flatt invites us to be repulsed by their honest unmasking.”

Born in Texas, Flatt flew to San Francisco to study at the Academy of Art, but dropped out and moved to his parents’ farm just outside of Dallas, Texas to work and create there. Ever since high school, Flatt spent his time practicing. He was constantly drawing and creating.

“I was just trying to draw as perfectly as I could. I grew up thinking the better you draw, the better your art. That’s not true, but it stuck with me,” Flatt said with San Francisco newspaper, SF Gate.

Now, Flatt puts a bit more than just practice into his art. He even puts a little of himself into it. There was an instance at Project One Art Gallery where a $100 bill was being painted and Flatt joined in, but didn’t have any materials. He pricked himself with a needle to draw blood and used that to help complete the piece. Inspired from that experience, there’s a piece called “Blood Money” that features a stencil of the $100 bill. It’s made on a canvas out of Flatt’s father’s blood.

Yes, you read that correctly. Blood.

Flatt’s art is the kind that goes beyond just making art for art’s sake. While that also has its place, Flatt creates to help humanity. We’re told that we need something else – anything else – to be happy. What we actually need is a reminder that we’re fine and things don’t decide what makes us happy, successful or useful. Those things may help, but ultimately, we make the call. As Flatt has been trying to tell us, everything else is ridiculous.

-Geneva Toddy


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