Visual artist Roy Nachum believes his art should be accessible to all, even those who can’t see it. In his new installation Blind, (which is currently on display at Joseph Nahmad Contemporary, temporarily located at Openhouse Gallery Space), Nachum has created paintings that explore how one can really “see” art. Encouraging patrons to touch the work, the pieces are infused with poems from the artist that are written in braille, allowing the visually impaired to access the art. Life+Times spoke with Nachum about his career as an artist, his upbringing in Israel and how his goal of opening the eyes of the sighted.
Life+Times: When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
Roy Nachum: For as long as I can remember. I’ve been painting since I was a child.
L+T: Do you remember the first time when you felt that art had to be your career?
RN: Art has always been my life. It was my very first visit to an art museum when I knew for sure I wanted be an artist. I said to myself, “I want to be here one day!”
L+T: Was your family supportive with your decision to become an artist?
RN: They have always been supportive of me and my art, and they still are. I guess I’m very lucky in that way. They’ve always pushed me to do my best throughout my life and my career.
L+T: How much of a role do you feel growing up in Israel plays in your artistic identity?
RN: The mentality of an Israeli person is very different than that of people from anywhere else in the world. The Israeli people are faced everyday with the repercussions of an ongoing war, and almost every person in Israel has lost someone close to them. This pain that tears people apart also brings people closer together. This is very much a part of me, and made me think of ways I can help people. It is definitely an underlying inspiration for Blind.
L+T: If you couldn’t be an artist, what career do you imagine having?
RN: I was born to be an artist, it’s in my soul. I can’t see myself doing anything else.
L+T: What was the first painting or drawing that someone other than your mom felt was really great?
RN: It was my first self-portrait. I was five-years-old, and taking art classes at the Museum of Israel. Not long after the beginning of the semester the teacher asked to speak with my parents, I immediately thought that I must be in trouble and did my best to avoid telling this to my parents. When she finally met with them she said, “Your son is very talented and is not in the level of five or six-year-olds but should continue to study with kids at the age of 13-15-years-old.” I then found myself studying with a group of kids nearly 10 years my age and it was then that I understood this is what I was good at.