Furnished Reverberation

~ An interview session with Nata Lukas also known as Nathan Taylor ~

Nata Lukas Painting Close Up

Tuesday September 17th, 2007

Pulling on a loose thread, I began to unravel veins of the fallen leaf. Luckily, it was not difficult to locate my second Eugene interview. Clear skies and even clearer directions by Nathan Taylor aka Nata Lukas brought me directly in front of the orange VW travel van – similar to a vehicle my dad imagined I’d use for this trip through the Western Coastal areas – parked in front of his new living space. After a brief tour, taking some photos of paintings not tied up in storage, and general chitchat, we adjourned to the back yard.

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“I am working on several projects: sound installations,
impromptu actions, poems, and paintings. Lately I have
been mostly distracted by transitioning to a new
community (I am originally from Bellingham, WA, but
have recently landed in Eugene, OR, thus I am just now
getting situated looking for studio space, community,
etc.) With my most recent series of paintings I have
been trying to tap into the urban vibe. They are made
using spray paint and stencil techniques. The colors
are vibrant and energetic. The patterns are both map
like and analogous to circuitry. “ Nata Lukas


Moments Of Truth ~ Let’s open up with a break down of what your primary forms of creative expression are?

Nata Lukas ~ I’d say I started off as a painter, although I’ve explored lots of mediums. I like to play with sculpture, I write poetry sometimes, sometimes sound and video installations. Currently I’m really getting into cooking food, it’s definitely a way I can express myself creatively. I also like to make beer.

MOT ~ What do you focus the most time and mental energy on?

NL ~ I think it kind of flows from different time periods, I’ll just be really interested in one project or another. I’d say the one I come back to Continue reading

Stacked & Finished?

Stacked & Finished?

After watching the months of August and September melt away into shorter days, autumn colors, and impending winter weather it does not take much to know it is time to hit the road. Another Portland night, summers usual pleasant humid stickiness has turned to a crisp fall coolness. Still not completely secure in what items to pack and what to leave, I throw my hands up in frustration, not wanting to begin yet also wanting to set sail. Inevitably, I force myself out the door making some calls over the weekend to schedule appointments for the coming Monday September 17th; one in Salem and a couple in Eugene.

Well, being the laggard that I can be, come Monday, I’m still debating what items to leave in and what to leave out until I just bite the bullet and cram in what fits. In my anxious state, caught up in my thoughts and potential adventures that lay ahead, I start out in the wrong direction wasting at least a half hour road time. By the time I make it to the first location, paths have already been crossed and the meeting has to be postponed until the return trip. It’s straight on to Eugene to sit down with painter John Holdway.

John Holdway,

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“Mainly I do painting, in oils, but sometimes acrylics. Maybe lean a little into sculpture, especially when I’m working on some paintings in still life because I might build my own props. Sometimes I do think of my paintings more like sculpture, objects. I also do printmaking, block print, monotype.”

MOT ~ What do you think it is that draws you toward painting?

JH ~ It’s hard to say, I’ve been painting for a long time, it becomes somewhat habitual. It’s a little weird that way, so I find it hard to think about it, why do I do it. Why can’t I stop doing it might be a better question.

There are a lot of practical things that are nice about painting. If you have paintings, you can hang them on your own wall. In college I did some steel sculpture, but there are problems with that. You need lots of tools, a big pile of junk in your yard, a yard, if you don’t, well… and now I do have a yard, but I’m married and have a wife. She’d probably be pretty unhappy with that.

So I would like to do some steel sculpture again. I like doing all kinds of stuff. With painting, you don’t use your muscles as much. If you spend time building your own canvases or something that might be the extent of it. I like to be a little tired after, more active instead of just all in your head. It’d be nice to have a little of that. I remember that about steel sculpture that there’s a physical-ness not necessarily there in the same way when painting. It entails forging, hammering, cutting, using all kinds of different tools. With painting you have your brushes and your knives. It might be that [brushes] are so natural to me know that I don’t even think of them as tools.

MOT ~ So where did you grow up?

JH ~ I grew up in Maryland outside of DC, College Park, pretty close to the University of Maryland.

MOT ~ Do other members of your family also do creative types of activities?

JH ~ Yea, well my dad’s always been an artist on the side, a print-maker, doing etchings and those kinds of things. He often drew and has done some Continue reading

Knarlly Rebar

After only being on the road for just a week, with a two man pup tent loaned by my dad, sleeping bag, and basic gear strapped via various bungees to the motorcycle, I am realizing it’s not quite as exotic as stories and films tend to make this kind of adventure out to be. Camping using only the regular spots, which it seems is what the park services want people to do, is not like what I remember as a kid. It probably doesn’t help that the majority of campsites seem to be situated for RV or giant camper ease of access. Spending the majority of the day on the road, trying to get to the next location with enough day light hours to pitch camp doesn’t leave much time for seeing all the awesome sights, sounds, and chatting with the people inbetween. Nor am i finding much time to just hunt down interesting folks willing to spend an hour right away to discuss what they do, and I wouldn’t expect too either.

After several nights sleep on the ground, my back, and brain feel like this mangled heap of rebar looks. There are other methods.

Trying to keep up on the posts is tough too. Each interview seems to take about a good days worth of work to have a fairly edited and organized post to present. This is meant to be professional quality, regardless of the format. So far, general word of mouth feed back has been good. I’m curious what others stopping by actually think. I’ve noticed some suggestions. Unfortunately they may be loftier then my capabilities at this time. If when making suggestions you could also explain how to accomplish this in these basic html slash motorcycle parameters, that’d be helpful.

This weeks focus is on transcribing three interviews. One conducted with filmagrapher Andrew Warnecke based in Portland, Oregon. The other two are with painters working out of Eugene. More to come on that later, so stay tuned.

Right now I’m in the Bay area aka San Francisco and planning on interviewing some great creative minds here. If you know somebody you can direct me to from SF to San Diego and or Mexico too, please don’t hesitate to let me know.


Keep checking in. More will come up this week!

Scatter Grain

This session had been tentatively arranged the night prior, but I wouldn’t have felt bad if he’d canceled because I knew Zae began his day around 5am and made it home 8pmish. That being an extremely long day usually leaves a person mentally drained. About 7:45pm I received the call that he was about home and wanted to know if we were still on. After collecting the necessary tools (the digital recorder and camera), confirmed the location on Google maps, warmed up my motorcycle and was off. The nights adventure to score an interview had just begun.

Portland Riverfront

Arriving at his place he explained the need to head to a particular location where he could hand off some cash to a friend of his girl’s who is currently studying down in Guatemala. Because of his hours he was unable to make the much needed deposit to her account. Zae figured he could take out several birds with one stone, getting some dinner, a few beers, and this interview done at that same spot. Well, first things first, to get there.

With no valid drivers license he asks if I would mind driving his gf’s car. After confirming that insurance was cool we went out to fire up the ’84 Accord. Ummm, no go, some electrical problem. I’d give him a ride on my motorcycle (something I still have yet to do) but he’s got no helmet. The alternative became bicycles. Truly, I can’t remember the last time I really rode a bicycle anywhere.

Through the dark side streets of Portland we cruised, and I could feel the breeze of autumn in the air. After dodging a couple of hairy intersections, and retrieving my digital recorder before it got ran over we arrived at Tiger Too, ordered a couple Bridgeport IPA’s and introductions were dealt out. Zae ordered himself the 1/2lb pepper jack cheese, bacon and sliced jalapeños fire burger. Unfortunately, for some reason we didn’t get around to the interview here, the fries were good though, and the pints might have warmed us to some decent conversation. Even more unfortunate was that I hadn’t noticed just how tired this guy had become.

The nights adventure to score an interview had just begun.

Regardless, back at his place he made the attempt to go through with this interview, the best that a sleep deprived delusional individual can.


Moments of Truth~ Please describe your primary creative endeavors.

Zae~ Graffiti art slash vandalism slash bike riding, masturbating slash gardening.

MOT~ Okay, umm, so is that how you want to break it down? Maybe, what medium do you most focus your creative energy?

Z~ Rampant vandalism.

MOT~ Why have you chosen this medium versus all those other fantastic ones out there?

Z~ There are not that many other fantastic mediums out there as far as I’m concerned.

MOT~ Alright then, well, break it down where you grew up?

Z~ Primarily grew up in North East Portland, spent my early childhood years in Olympia, Washington where my childhood memories rest. I preside in SE Portland now-a-days.

MOT~ Tell me a little bit about this gardening that you do.

Z~ Gardening is a meditational experience. Vegetable gardening not landscaping, you can watch things grow and get to eat them, it’s kind of fun. I’m not as into it as I should be, it’s more of an old people hobby, even though old folks might not exploit it as much as they should, uh, tomatoes are amazing, fruit, obviously it’s a very exploitable region. I mean if you don’t have to buy produce in the store why should you? Heirlooms, the most legitimate thing you can work with.

MOT~ Do you have any particular memories when you started focusing your time and energy on your creative endeavors? Say, about the time you started switching off all other avenues of the other not very many other creative endeavors and started focusing on this rampant vandalism thing?

Z~ Around the time when I switched off was when my brother David was murdered down in Eugene, Oregon. Uhhh, I kind of shut off completely. I was already pretty anti-social as a kid, and I had very few friends and it stuck me in a whole different world. I was already kind of getting into graffiti and I accelerated that world, graffiti art, graffiti vandalism, what ever you want to call it. From there just went into a few years of depression and uh finding myself and making friends finally that has brought to where I am now.

MOT~ So you think you made a lot of friends through that avenue that you wouldn’t have necessarily made in any other way?

Z~ I think with out graffiti it would have been a lot harder for me to grow as a person and find a community. That was my community and that was my way to come up in the world which I didn’t have before.

Portland Backyard Garden Vegetables

MOT~ That’s a good transition to my next question how would you describe the community you grew up in and do you think that the community influenced your ideas style or just the way you approach life in general?

Z~ My community was both very positive and very negative at the same time. It was very polarized. You got your violent shit head irresponsible side and you got you artistic expression community blah blah blah, whatever people call it. A lot of people try to label, catagorize, every thing’s a category, label or syndrome these days, soooo I like grey areas, I like things to be grey, except for walls.

MOT~ So do you think the community had a large impact on the way you think about things or do you think you would have just come up with them on your own?

Z~ If the world wasn’t fucked I wouldn’t think the way I think. I mean it’s not like we live in some third world country. Things are handed to Americans that aren’t handed to the rest of the world. I can’t say I grew up in poverty. Nobody in America really grew up that impoverished, I mean maybe a handful of minorities, perhaps if your in the dirty south.

MOT~ Yea it’s tough to say that over here in the northwest, people are pretty well taken care of.

Z~ You can do what you want to do if you have the right mind-state. But sometimes, family has a lot to do with it, . . . I lost track of the original question falling out into different tangents.

MOT~ How would you describe your creative style? What is it you are trying to accomplish or express with the medium that you choose to use?

Painting by Zae photo'd for Scatter Grain blog post and Street Cred

Z~ Well, as far as graffiti goes it’s full on freedom of speech, full on freedom, you’re not allowing someone else to speak for you, or going through some commercial medium, it’s all you and your own community. Which is an excellent thing, and it can also be a retarded thing half the time. But you get your good with your bad and your happy and sad, smile now cry later.

MOT~ But like in any medium [of life] you’re going to have rules people are supposed to follow, there’s like levels of engagement, it’s like it breaks down to a militaristic form of combat. How is that free versus something else? How do you set yourself apart?

Z~ UngWell, you’ve got your rules and boundaries, you’ve got those that choose not to follow any of the rules or boundaries and you’ve got those that are strict to the rules of the game, what is allowed and not, ya know. I don’t know, in a smaller city like Portland everybody makes there own rules, and nobody really gets checked. But I know in bigger cities the graffiti community is tough. You can’t really fuck around in some places. In Portland I’ve gotten away with some shit, and shoulda’ got my ass kicked, but I didn’t. But ya know, I’ve also given people passes on getting their ass kicked, it goes either way. Maybe I’m just a mellow dude.

Portland Characters



MOT~ Do you have any particular sources of inspiration, what ever might inspire you, it doesn’t necessarily have to be artistic or creative….

Z~ I love nature, I love the balance between nature and civilization, that’s an inspiration. I love my dad, he’s an awesome person, with out him I wouldn’t be anywhere.

MOT~ Do you have any particular artistic influences, styles of thought you might emulate?

Z~ As far as artistic influences, you gotta go back to the old school folks. I’m not even going to elaborate that much. Your “Style Wars” people and what not. As far as artists, Salvador Dalí, Picasso, I haven’t studied art really that much to know this or that. I’ve always been mostly a free thinker, but I am considering trying to be more structured, get into meditation, reading a lot more books, basically, because I don’t feel like I know shit about the world. If I ever expect to travel and learn about the world, I am really way off base. It just involves traveling and reading, hopefully I will eventually figure out a true direction. Right now I’m pretty much in limbo land, and that can happen when you chose lifestyles that I’ve chosen. I’ve been a wandering graffiti writer up until about two years ago. Those two things combined, being a traveler and artist, you can experience a lot of things people don’t get to experience, but you can also put yourself in a void where you don’t learn other things about the world. A kind of tunnel vision.

MOT~ Do you have any creative goals in mind? A direction you plan to work toward? Some specific goals you’d like to try and achieve.

Blackbook Sketches

Z~ I’ve always wanted to be a free lance journalist. Originally I begin putting out my own magazine, now everybody seems to have their own magazine. Everybody’s a graphic designer… I put out three independent graffiti slash commentary magazines from ’99 to 2002. This was back when Kinko’s was very exploitable, and my dad has a printing background so that was helpful. They were full size, color.

My dad’s been running printing presses since the 60’s, that’s his official trade. And now he’s dabbling in it a little bit, and part of the teachers union. He’s a major inspiration, done a lot.

MOT~ Were you able to glean any knowledge or methods of printing from him?

Z~ I would be around when he was running them, and he’d be helping people with their poem books. Always working on something whether through work or helping other friends, and obviously that rubbed off on me. The ink kind of attracted me, I thought “I could get into that.” I’ve always had a writing urge, although it’s kind of died off in recent years. Everything goes in cycles, so I’m likely to get back to it, eventually. I need to get back into the practice of writing, reading more, and educating myself, dancing around questions that people ask me.

MOT~ Zzzzzzzz (loosing my train of thought as ‘Mr. Bungle’ surf rock plays in the background)

Z~ Yea, I’ve been working the blue collar muscle and beer drinking muscle the last two years. It’s feels good, certain aspects, but it’s also pretty exhausting.

MOT~ Do you have any books, resources, or tools that you turn to for your main creative endeavors?

Z~ I used to rely heavily on music as a kind of guide, which I forgot about in recent years. I’ve been getting back into music as inspiration. I come from a very musical artistic family so it only makes sense, I’m destined to be a whore to some sort of art. So it’s no surprise that I’ve dedicated myself to graffiti, music, some sort of art (drifting off to sleep)

An interview moment captured for Scatter Grain blog post

MOT~ Well, do you think you have a particular process from start to finish? Like from the development of an idea to

Z~ Basically I’m a scatterbrain so any pocket of creativity I relish in….

MOT~ How do you collect it, organize yourself?

Z~ It just comes to me, a lot of the time I’m really lazy and I’ll spend a lot of my time thinking I’m really bored and in reality I’m not, I’m just not living up to what my potential offers me…. (questioning his sleepy thoughts) that doesn’t make any sense. Not living up to my potential is what I meant to say.

A lot of the time I don’t record my ideas, I don’t stick with them, and I don’t follow through with them.

MOT~ Why not?

Z~ Uhhhhh, scatterbrain laziness that’s somehow imbedded in me. I don’t know if it’s a birth defect or what. I mean I definitely have honed my creative abilities in the past, so I know it’s there. It’s definitely always there, that’s the thing, I know it’s always there, but I can always put it off. . . .

MOT~ Do you enjoy having these ideas? Why not capture them, what might keep you from taking them into fruition? Do you not see a need for it to become part of physical reality?

Z~ I think a lot of the time I am very picky and I scrutinize myself too much and don’t let things just come out, and I don’t let things happen; therefore I eliminate them from my thought process and forget about them. That’s not a good thing, because I do have a lot of good ideas, “Oh man, I could just take off on this.”

I don’t know, what’ll happen is I’ll get off work, forget about it, have a couple beers, ‘whew.’ A year later I’m like, “I wonder if I could still work on that?”

Sometimes I do, sometimes I can come back and do it, paint something, further the idea, put it back on the back burner and let it marinate. I figure with youth, I’m still young, 27, got a lot of steam yet to blow off, a little bit of partying left to do, not too much but I figure, ya know, I got all my 30’s and 40’s to hunker down and finally capture all that creative process. Write, read, art, travel, I mean, it’s all still there, right now I’m just working on trying to get a career together as far as making money, I’m going with the trade, I have no desire to go to college or an office and sit behind a computer all day. I don’t know. Hands on. But I’ve paid for it, physically and mentally.

MOT~ When you’re working on a project, putting something together, what tells you it’s complete?

Z~ I try to like to work in one big spurt, I try to be 90% done from start to finish. I try to get it started, come the next day and tweak it out a little bit. I like to get things done all in one, that’s probably part of my problem sometimes, with the continuing artistic endeavors is that I don’t allow myself time to put things together in order, and I just want to get it done I guess. I mean, I might take my time, but I want to get it done. I could add this little rinky-dink there, or through this in there. It’s like with music, you can come up with a simple song, figured out the lyrics that night, bust it out and record it, sometimes that’s the best way to do it. It sounds like a corny comparison but I know Tu Pac would just sit in the studio and just pump out songs.

MOT~ What about the possibility, I mean, I don’t know him personally, but that he sat down and thought these songs out in his head years and years ago. . . . I don’t think that’s something to be discounted, to be able to develop something in your mind. The challenge can be in manifesting it into the material world, put it down, to share with other people. In your head it’s one thing. . . he could have easily done that.

Z~ Yea, that’s how my thought process works too, maybe not exactly like that, but I definitely lay out plans in my mind. A traveling freelance journalist in my 30’s, been thinking about it for a while. Maybe because it’s such a fantasy idea that you could get hired by the ‘New Yorker’ to say do a story in Brazil one day “Oh wow, that guy that wrote about Brazil for the ‘New Yorker’ was amazing” and the next another rag wants to hire you to interview some ghetto g’s in Harlem….

Fuzzy moment at Tiger Too captured for Scatter Grain blog post

MOT~ Why do you think you do an artistic thing instead of others who’ll just come home and watch TV?

Z~ I don’t know. I’ve tried to be the guy who comes home and watch TV, but I’ll be watching a show and think “this isn’t funny, I know people who are funny in real life, this doesn’t fucking compare.” I mean, I’ll get one laugh out of some hit show, one good laugh, and yet I can go hang out with one of my funniest friends and be cracking up for hours, just drinking a couple beers and laughing harder then I ever have in my life. I’d say Bore (RIP) for instance was someone like that. I’ve never met a funnier motherfucker in my life. He would just entertain you to know end, to the point where you’d just be on the floor and couldn’t handle yourself, and coming home and watching TV doesn’t compare.

I mean, when I was a kid, and didn’t have any friends, I could sit and watch TV for days and days, and maybe I got it out of my system then. I can understand lonely people, people who grew up on TV and that’s all they know, but that’s not me. I can watch a movie.

MOT~ Do you have any particular style?

Z~ Off beat, I try to do something a little bit different. I come from an off-beat family, I can’t live with myself if I’m just some generic dude, just going with the flow. If you’re in an art medium, especially graffiti, you can’t just be some Joe Schmoe, like I’m gonna copy Twist style or something and live off of it for years. A lot of folks might do that, copy generic do-dads or do different variations on different peoples styles, and it’s just boring. I might find myself doing that, and “well yea,” I’ll call myself out and switch it up. Other wise what’s the point, you got to do something different. People get all egotistical about shit, yet they don’t do anything different then the last thirty years of thousands of people who have done it. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

If you’re not weird and off beat, . . . you don’t necessarily have to be weird, but if you’re not having fun with what you’re doing what’s the point. You get all those attitudes and egos, I don’t know, that doesn’t apply to me.

I feel like at points graffiti has become a job for me, I don’t like that. I like it to be fun. People stress me out on going painting, and want to go paint some dumb spot that’s been painted a hundred times before, and push to do something I don’t care about. I don’t know, graffiti, there’s more to life then that, people can get caught up dwelling on one little thing. There’s more to life then that.

Painting by senior isaiah and the monk photo'd for Scatter Grain article

MOT~ Do you have a potential direction you’d like to go?

Z~ I could go in so many different directions, that’s probably part of my problem, I’m a scatterbrain. I’d love to be a jack-of-all-trades, but it’s not realistic. Basically I could be the guy who does graffiti, owns a bar, is a photographer, journalist, prints a magazine, travels the world, I could be all these things at once, in my mind. I don’t know if it’s realistic, reality crushing a lot of things sometimes, but if you are clever enough, and time things right, I think you can do a lot of things, life is a long time. I think life is pretty long. I’m 27 and stressing out, and I don’t think I should be stressing out. I’ve got like God know’s how many years in front of me. . . right?

Sometimes you’ve got to push yourself a little farther and live dangerously. Maybe I should climb a mountain or something, I don’t know.

MOT~ Who are some of the musicians that inspire you, and what about the creation of that music inspires you?

Z~ Well, I’ll throw out ‘Captain Beefheart,’ he’s kind of like balls out free flow of music, sometimes it doesn’t make any sense and sucks, and sometimes a beautiful song will just materialize and you’re like “where did that come from?” So that’s one example. I feel like that’s me, I go on different wave lengths. I could come out crazy, or really chill, or smooth, I could come out psychotic, I feel kinda psychotic these days. I’m a metal head at heart though. I love some Iron Maiden, probably one of the best bands that ever existed, Metallica is classic, I can just really chill out to them. Metal for a person like me, and I’m sure for most metal heads can geek out because it hits that wave length, relaxes you, go along with every note of the shredding guitar. It equalizes the brain patterns that aren’t quite normal. That’s where metal comes in for some people. Ya gotta hear some thrash, out of this world musicianship that equalizes those brain patterns. Not that I can’t listen to some mellow music, I love good folk, really I’m all over the place. I enjoy gangsta’ rap, I could go on for days about music.

Oregon's Nature

Final thoughts:

It would seem obvious, and probably most people know the need for it, but actually developing and sticking to a regimen or routine that allows a person to exercise their creativity regularly is a tough act to follow. Working long hours the majority of the week leaves a person exhausted mentally and physically.

There are endless bound reams of paper on “How to…” do this or that. The act of dedicating oneself to a craft on a constant long-term basis that does not provide monetary results is energy wasted by modern American societies predominant standards. This leaves me a little stumped. Every individual seems to be essentially on their own in that no one else can truly make a decision for another. I think Zae is of a much more optimistic bent then myself. His paradigm is one filled with time; I, on the other hand, think time ends with every passing second. So ends this post.