Patterns dance in Nosego’s paintings of morphing creatures that shed their skins to be reborn as psychedelic spirit animals. The Philadelphia-based artist pays homage to various endangered species in his work and paints them in an optimistic light. Whether in his street art or in the studio, Nosego fills his work with interlocking designs that distort his chosen animals’ anatomies into something otherwordly. He remixes familiar imagery into whimsical compositions with dizzying details.
Nosego’s upcoming solo show, “Invisible Village,” debuts at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia on January 23. The title of the show came from a motto the artist repeated to himself while creating the work: “Fear nothing, for with you is an invisible village.” His mantra reflects the spiritual aspects of his paintings, and one can imagine his supernatural creatures acting as guardian angels of sorts.
Nosego spent the past couple of years traveling and painting murals everywhere from Portland to Berlin and has returned home with new inspirations and ideas. We chatted with him about what he has been up to and what we can expect to see in “Invisible Village.”
You haven’t shown in Philadelphia for quite some time. What have you been up to since you last exhibited your work in your hometown two years ago?
Yeah, it’s been about a couple years since the last time I’ve shown in Philadelphia. Over the past two years I’ve been fortunate to do a good bit of traveling and painting but it’s nice to be home.
How did you arrive at the title “Invisible Village” for this body of work?
The title was inspired by the idea of not judging a book by its cover and believing you understand something until discovering its other traits, or true nature.
Are there any specific themes you were exploring with these paintings?
Yes, they vary between themes but one of the fairly common themes in the works is endangered species.
Your new paintings seem more fleshed-out and figurative than your previous work. I see more specific species emerging out of the psychedelic designs. Can you talk about this evolution?
I think this is something I always wanted to explore and just feels right at the moment. It wasn’t really a conscious decision, the work just seemed to turn in that direction.
Do the animals you paint have a particular significance?
Most of the time they do. I believe they help set the mood and direction of the painting.
What’s your process like? How much of work is pre-planned and how much room to you leave for spontaneity?
I would say I plan the piece loosely just to form the composition and to allow some room to improvisation later. I try not to plan too much because my ideas often change and form during the process.
You’re showing sculpture in this show, as well. Can we expect more 3D work from you in the future?
Yes, I’ve been having fun creating the 3D works and hope to expand it a bit more in the future.