NATHAN DANIEL MANNA
HI! I'M NATHAN
I am a relentless fantasist, constantly pushing the boundaries of my ideas. From a young age, I saw the world through a haze of make-believe, perceiving fantastical realms beneath everyday life. This play led me on a creative journey from childhood make-believe to theatre and, amidst a global pandemic, to photomontage. Photomontage opened a world of possibilities, translating the vibrant universes of my mind into a tangible medium. These realms, once mere childhood dreams, became a lifeline during my teenage years as I navigated understanding my queerness amidst judgment and expectations. Late into the night, fueled by trash pop-punk music, I reveled in technicolor fantasies, embracing a fabulous queerness beyond my small hometown's confines.
Discovering John O'Reilly's work during my time at the College of the Holy Cross, I became entranced with his approach to creating work by manufacturing miniature theatrical sets and casting himself as the main character through self-portraiture. His work inspired me to incorporate myself into my work. At first, I was concerned as my body does not fit the ideal gay physique, but upon further reflection, I realized that was why I should include my body. The homoerotic canon utilizes a very narrow definition of what constitutes attractiveness, which I rebel against. My art becomes a vehicle transcending boundaries, accessing the liberation I dream of.
Through the intricate photomontage process, I construct compositions that intertwine personal narratives, history, queer identity, and exploration of hidden desires. By delving into these elements, my photomontages become multifaceted reflections on the complex intersections of personal and collective history. Through careful curation of imagery and symbolism, I aim to reclaim and recontextualize narratives that have long been marginalized or forgotten. Each piece becomes a conduit for escapism, enabling viewers to journey alongside me into the narratives I am constructing voyeuristically. Ultimately, I aspire to evoke emotions, provoke contemplation, and challenge societal norms through my art. By melding the fantastical and the tangible, my art sparks dialogue and imagination and invites viewers to question their biases. Step into my world and leave the boring everyday behind.