Meet Nathaniel Bice, The Artist Behind These Tiny Paintings of Beloved San Francisco Restaurants and Bars

by AryanArtnews
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In July 2020, 24-year-old Nathaniel J. Vice sat at Harry Bridge Plaza across from the Ferry Building, painting a portrait of a San Francisco landmark with the pride and California flags blown by the wind. Vise had been biking down Market Street all the time, but he noticed that the waterfront area had become a deserted place for the first time in a while. Theater experts and set painters wanted the opportunity to shake off some of the stress of COVID. And painting was the way he chose to depressurize. But the painting will change his hobby of painting into something more.

Since then, Bice has painted 25 portraits of restaurants, bars, bakeries and businesses around the Bay Area. This includes the legendary hamburger joint Red’s Java House, Hi Dive Bar, and the retro castro diner Orphan Andy’s. Sometimes he only paints the buildings he loves, and sometimes he is commissioned for his art. In both cases, it’s a way for him to connect with the city and the industry where his talent is eager to represent small businesses. “I honestly walk around the city and see what catches my eye,” says Vice.

Vise grew up in Albuquerque, but loved sketching the city when he lived in Seattle and earned a bachelor’s degree in performance production from the Cornish University of the Arts. He moved to San Francisco for fellowship with the American Conservatory Theater, which was wrapped in 2019. The pandemic put live performances at risk as Vise’s theater career was just beginning. At that time, he reopened the sketchbook.

He evacuated to a partner’s apartment in the city for the first six months of the pandemic and eventually left his place in Auckland. Upon moving to San Francisco, Vice realized that he was acclimatizing to life in the church and market areas, and his love for painting was fully demonstrated to him. The Mission District Bylite painting was the first blockbuster of his ongoing series of painting vices in the San Francisco food business. He found the opportunity through word-of-mouth and Instagram, but the attention he received on Reddit was an early sign that he was heading in the right direction. “The painting was more successful than anything I had ever done,” says Bice. “The idea was opened up that we could take the time to make it useful and satisfying.”

Vise draws a picture of gouache. This is also called an opaque watercolor painting.
Quatsch Photos and Abigail Sylvester | Nathaniel J. Vice

When people noticed their favorite bars and restaurants in his paintings, some began to ask him for work. The vise creates a 2 “x 3” gouache picture. This, also known as an opaque watercolor, takes a picture of his second completed work. He loves to get the opportunity to work directly with local institutions like Sweet Adeline in Berkeley. A couple who made a wedding cake at the bakery bought his picture, and the owner of Sweet Adeline asked Bice for another larger version, eventually printing a postcard for a business anniversary. did.

Another such moment came when a woman reached out to Vice on behalf of her partner who loves to go to lower heights. Sad he missed his usual birthday bash at his favorite neighborhood hangout for COVID, so looking for another way to celebrate him, she gave both Toronado and Morotov paintings as gifts. I requested. The picture of Eddie’s Cafe on Divisa de Ro Street was also a consignment gift.

While the list of places to paint grows, Bice also wants to connect to the theater. He finds a balance between taking on theatrical work, such as modeling the Bay Area scenic designer Nina Ball, and requesting a painting now that the world is heading back to normal. I’m having a hard time. Vice also challenged the mural and collaborated with Randy Wong Westbrook on the Van Gogh mural in San Francisco. “We will continue to combine these skills,” says Bice.

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