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Artist Nasir Young



Nasir Young received his BFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art. Nasir is currently represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia. In 2020 he was awarded The Raymond D. & Estelle Rubens Travel Scholarship to go to London. Young was awarded an illuminate arts grant in 2021 and 2022, he was the Second place winner of the Philadelphia Sketch Club 158th exhibition of small oils, a 2022 Davinci Art Alliance Resident, and 2023 Delaware Contemporary resident.


Nasir’s primary source of imagery is the everyday scenes of urban inner city life. He has had multiple group shows in Philadelphia, and online exhibitions.



"The work comes from a place of hyper awareness of my surroundings. I am a person who walks down the street looking at the brick and mortar, the markings on the wall, the trash on the ground wondering about its story. My practice starts with the world around me; guided by the happenstance moments that you would miss if you blink just once. I document the small wonders, these range from shadows dancing around objects, visual clutter that tells a story. These may sit in my sketchbooks for months or years before it is time to use them. Every page of these books evokes memories of moments capturing a story that viewers often can relate to. I have to sit with this imagery and discover why it emotionally stirred me. When I go to bring these creations to life I use observation, studying the tiniest details of information that could be easily overlooked. My landscapes, and buildings are my characters with figures as supporting props often depicting a drama and story with no figure ever being present."


Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from) and your background in the arts.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia Pa and the surrounding areas. I didn't have much exposure to the arts till the tail end of high school where I took a leap into an 8 year journey of art school. That journey combined with growing up part of the Philadelphia skateboard community shaped a lot of how I look at the world and how the environment occupies it. Through a surprise born of the pandemic, painting is how its felt right for me to document my observations, and experiences.


What kind of work are you currently making?

My current body of work is for an upcoming show I proposed based around corner stores, and food deserts. These areas of communities need to be in conversation. Food insecurities are an important topic that can easily fall to the side.


What is a day like in the studio for you?

My schedule rotates a lot right now juggling other hats but a typical day in the studio starts with emails, housekeeping with an interchangeable amount of goofing off (reading manga).

I try to start of with working my sketchbook, this could be drawing or painting directly in my book, from there since I work on multiple works at once I decide what I'm working on first.


I'll bounce between works depending on If I need areas to dry or working out problems. Once I'm in full blown work mode I just keep working until life needs to take my attention elsewhere.


What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

I have been buying a lot of artist books, and looking at a lot of illustrative comics and manga. To name a few King City by Brandon Graham, Gleem by Freddy Carrasco, and Mobile Suit Gundam:the origin by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. I'm looking at a lot of the unorthodox interesting compositions that the landscapes form.


Where can we find more of your work?

Instagram: @nasiryoungart

https://www.grossmccleaf.com/artists/nasir-young#tab:thumbnails

I have two upcoming shows in august (corner stories) with @davinciartalliance in February My first solo show @grossmccleaf







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