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Nation’s Artistry Shines at Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival

Diverse artists performing together.

Nation’s Artistry Shines at Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival

In the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, local creator Tate Nation steps into the spotlight as the featured artist for the 45th annual Piccolo Spoleto festival. This is the third time Nation has designed the poster for this cherished celebration of art and culture.

A Decidedly Vibrant Homage to Local Art

Throughout 24 consecutive years of participation, Nation has become a key figure in the festival tradition, most notably through the outdoor art exhibition. For 17 days, artists from various disciplines occupy Marion Square, between King and Calhoun. Nation’s exhibit is as colorful and inviting as his artwork, marked by his signature pink flamingos, also featured on this year’s festival poster.

The festival companion to the globally-acclaimed Spoleto Festival USA, Piccolo Spoleto, hosted by the city of Charleston, emphasizes the talents of local and regional creators. This year, attendees can anticipate a variety of unique performances, including a hip hop, poetry, and harp showcase; a contemporary lesbian tragedy by local theater company, The Void; and visual art-infused dance performances from Annex Dance Company.

A Journey through Nation’s Creative Landscape

For Nation, artistry is all about capturing a sense of place with a playful touch. His works often showcase historical Charleston homes, draw from travel-inspired landscapes, and explore abstract themes with vivacity and color. Many of his creations feature multi-layered acrylic applied with unorthodox tools such as serrated knives and dry brushes, resulting in textured canvases rich in expressiveness.

Originally an illustrator, Nation reoriented his career after designing the poster for Piccolo Spoleto in 2000. As digital art became increasingly popular, he felt compelled to nurture his passion for tangible, hands-on creation. Once again in 2010, and now in 2024, his contributions to the festival poster have created a landmark in his path as an artist.

Gathering Inspiration from the Unpredictable

Nation attributes his artistic process and life choices to intuitive direction and signs from the universe. He relays a recent incident where he was dissuaded from applying a specific color due to a stuck paint lid, only to find an even more appropriate color as an alternative. This readiness to embrace the unforeseen also extends to his choice of career. Nation’s strong trust in fate has allowed him to follow his authentic passion: painting.

Despite the many challenges accompanying an artist’s lifestyle, Nation firmly believes in the richness of his life experiences. He cherishes the connections and conversations that his work encourages, often referring to these interactions as the best rewards of his journey. For him, the ultimate compliment is when his vibrant, ‘happy’ art brings smiles to people’s faces.

Nation’s Artistry Shines at Charleston's Piccolo Spoleto Festival

HERE Charleston
Author: HERE Charleston

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