Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2014

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type



FULK ART is a body of work that stems out of the divisions and segments of the constructed narrative germane to the notions of "art world" and "art worlds". In his theses Nathan Childs argues that his contemporary studio practice is not rooted in the post production criticism of his objects. Rather his art is a "techne" that hybridizes his daily habits as rituals of making. These rituals are self reverent inspections of multi sided issues, set into a dynamic state. The "third side" of the coin device is a habit of life style that allows Childs to reach deeper conclusions about superficial media regimes.

Childs theses examines a studio lifestyle that is not distinct but fully integrated into every component of his being. The studio, materials, rituals, and physical objects all combine into a compressed multilayer strata. Segmented, buttressed, grid-like, performative and immersive architectures emerge from a furnace of disruption.

Childs transcends a material existence by maintaining a "busy hands idle mind" monotony, that allows his mind to wander paths of discovery, problem solving, and wordsmithing. A chronological and linear pursuit of the plus outré, forever, or beyond produces an ever expanding lexicon of material and spiritual industry. Encased inside the monotony is a composting of materials and storing them for further use. Both thoughts and material compositions are delineated, dissected, reformed, delineated, dissected, reformed...a.i.

In the Stratigraphic Penticularity Childs has composed an allegory for the tension that lies between the studio as place of ritual and ceremony and object as material for criticism. "the question of form over function becomes a point of contention. Interior and exterior infers functionality as an architectural space. The participatory processional aspect of the viewer engaging the object is a question of ceremonial function. To me the Stratigraphic Penticularity is neither an object of function or form it is FULK ART, what is important isn’t what the object represents, what is important is that it was made. The ritualized studio practice is a state of mind, a way of living, and a formation of habits and is now represented by the object. The studio can be a five wall physical structure. The studio can also be elevated to ceremonial relic. The definition of the studio is controversial and disruptive."


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Committee Member

Denise Ward-Brown

Committee Member

Denise Ward-Brown

Committee Member

Monika Weiss

Committee Member

Adrian Cox

Artist's Statement

As an artist Nathan Childs pursues concepts of anger, abandonment, and injustice.Childs was abandoned by his paternal father through suicide at age two. Although Childs was very young, the trauma from the loss in his life molded him into a survivor.Overcoming mitigating circumstances has always been an integral part of his personal development, life choices, and world view. During Childs formative years he took up the recreational sport of Skateboarding.Transfixed by the overwhelming forces of isolation and marginalization experienced atthe hands of oppressive cops, bullies, and unappreciative teachers, Childs became very adept at deploying the survival skills he had learned at the early stages of his life.Fortunately because of his christian upbringing and a mother who lorded over him,Childs never fell to the crushing forces of violence and coercion. Instead he willfully deployed the alternatives provided to him in personal self expression, art, and property destruction. Childs rooted his epistemology in a milieu of anarcho-libertarianism,personal accountability and an unapologetic demeanor that gave him the personal self respect and esteem that had been lacking from the absence of a paternal authority.

Long before his recognition of career possibilities becoming limited because of an arrest record, Childs chose to work against a criminal justice system that had been institutionally degrading him. By spray painting on community walls and private property rather than turning to felonious acts of violence or drug trafficking, Childs was able to adhere to a moral direction that encouraged his ego without causing injury to his declared enemies. He found within the counter culture of graffiti and hip hop a brand of camaraderie and belonging that allowed him to accumulate fame, fortune and respect from the only persons that matter to him, the crew of friends that had never abandoned him while coming of age. Childs determined that as long as he adhered to a deeply codified understanding of a constructed identity known as the “Artist” he would forever be able to operate his life with impunity. Despite Childs inherent precociousness he had always been an independent scholar,avid reader, and prolific maker. At an early age he recognized his capacity to render images in a variety of mediums, techniques and disciplines. His magnanimous fortitude to blindly and feverishly expel his anger through the crafting of objects lead him to decide that the esteemed position of public intellectual, renaissance man, outlaw artist could finally liberate him from his abhorrence of complicit behavior and obedience in the face of such corrosive and coercive energies, such as the state, the academy and the corporate pigs.

Childs current work is entirely self reflective and anecdotal. He keeps a personal ledger of insults flung his way by the whim of misplaced benevolence. The circumstances of mistaking thinking that sanctuary would be provided for him, within the confines of a tier one research institute committed to interdisciplinary studies,flattened hierarchies, and a seemingly open plain of contemporary practice where there is no rules, has become the focal point of his research. Executing performative interventions Childs has been compiling a body of work that is emphasizing institutional critique, social practice and vandalism.

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