Buddy Nestor’s work is different to say the least. It’s easily recognizable, morbid and beautiful. It is easily the best example of psychological artwork. The viewer clearly sees the inner beauty that Buddy sees in his subjects. This is probably one of our most insightful interviews to date. Buddy clearly loves life and really enjoys the work he does. The reactions he’s received towards his work are amazing.
1. Where are you from?
I live in Delanco, NJ. It is a suburban town outside of Philadelphia, PA.
2. What got you interested in art?
I started coloring and drawing from the time I could hold the crayons. Even from very early on it was a magical thing to me. I guess I would put pressure on myself to make things look neat to myself. I was an excessive hand washer control freak. I remember uncontrollably crying because I went outside of the lines on an all brown monkey I was coloring when I was 3. I was a perfectionist as a kid with art. I’ve loosened up a lot.
3. Your style is quite unique and very recognizable. How did you start doing that work?
There is a mountain of shitty paintings, and a Georgia O’Keefe book, that lead me to reduce my palette. It was probably ten years of painting before I made anything that was OK. Now my palette is ten gray tones and primaries which I glaze into the grays. I was doing abstractions with the colors and materials (acrylic house paint, spray paint, and charcoal) that I use now but they weren’t really working out. So I decided to applying the same methods to portraits and saw a hint of a dark psychology happening, then I pushed the psychological effects.
4. I saw your work through Linnea Strid, and saw that you did a piece that is very recognizable as her. Is all your work based on people you know?
She is an amazing technical painter that I was friends with her and a fan of her on Facebook. Other than sharing a ride on the scariest roller-coaster in Coney Island, “The Tickler”, I don’t know her that well in real life, but it was wonderful to have an afternoon with her.
When I started doing the portraits I was doing local friends that weren’t really into art and when they saw what I was doing I had a hard time finding models. So I started asking artists on Facebook, which was scary as hell, and the response was very positive. Thanks especially to Peggy Wauters and Edith Lebeau. It also put more pressure on me to make better paintings.
So no, I don’t always know the models well. Some are friends but most of them are people that do something that is exciting. I am a fan in this game first and an artist second.
5. What emotions do you want/hope to work to convey to people?
In the simplest of terms, I want to convey how hard life is for all of us all of the time.
6. From start to finish what is the process for completing a piece?
Spray in a loose form of the image in black, white and gray.
Some flat colors over that in gray tones.
Beer while sanding that off where necessary.
Charcoal some lines in to define and make the values float into one another.
Spray a little and less controlled.
Sand a little with beer.
With a mix of matte medium and satin varnish glaze with gray mixed with primaries.
Never mixing orange or green.
Hate the painting and watch TV. Eat a handful of meat. Glaze tons of layers. Repeat.
Painting organic forms always leaves a hole. Paint each hole a dark color and put a glowing blob in it with fire engine red and lightish blue. I only ever allow myself one chance to mix the light blue. I have no idea why.
Balance the glowing blobs. Beer. Tweak the hair and highlights. Done. Usually about 3 weeks.
7. What’s the best compliment you've ever received? And, the flip side, what's the best insult you've ever received?
The best compliment was my girlfriend, Rachael Bridge.
The best insult? Haha. I love those so much. I’ve had parents covering crying kids eyes at a gallery, I’ve been called a misogynist, a Satanist. I’ve had models flip out when they saw the final piece. Is it bad to enjoy the hate? I totally do. It’s like yelling at someone for meditating for me.
8. What super power do you have?
Hypnotizing flies. Yes, I can do this.
9. Where is the one place you'd love to see your work end up? Why?
I’d like to see my work in lots of rich people’s houses, because it would allow me to quit my day job to just paint and listen to good music all day.
10. Do you do commission work?
11. What’s a question you always wished people asked you but never have?
I’m pretty social and I like to push past people’s comfort zones in conversation, so I normally ask the crazy questions. I really can’t think of any. I like when someone asks a question that baffles/strikes me.
12. Where is the best place to find and purchase your work?
Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia http://www.paradigmarts.org/
Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia http://www.archenemyarts.com
The Convent Philadelphia http://www.theconventphilly.com/
The art is not Dead http://www.theartisnotdead.com/
Gristle Gallery Brooklyn NY http://www.gristleartgallery.com/
I’m also in a show at Gristle in March 2017 “Pressure” curated by Gina Altadonna
The Prosthetic Project Show coming up in multiple venues and will be a benefit for wounded veterans. Everyone will be painting a used/donated prosthetic limb and it’s a bunch of heavy artists.
I’m presently working on portrait pieces that are made up of thirty-six 12 inch by 12 inch canvases that will wind up being 7 feet tall by 7 feet wide pieces. It’s a new thing for me. No idea if they’ll work, but I’m excited about them.
13. Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?
As always you can find links to Buddy on Instagram and Facebook, as well as his personal website. I know that I personally would kill for a portrait of myself done by Buddy.