Born, raised to love art, studied Visual Design at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, graduated, now seeking every opportunity to create – Nathan Hughes caught our eye with his Kickstarter project, The Wisdom Project. In it, he combines a modern entrepreneurial spirit with timeless storytelling, with plans to travel along the East Coast, learning, sharing, and documenting wisdom along the way. We’re not the only ones he’s impressed either – he successfully reached his goal, and a plane ticket to travel east in October. Congratulations! In the interview below, we find out a bit more about why he’s going old-school instead of digital, and just who is at the foundation of The Wisdom Project.
The Wisdom Project has a bit of a vintage feel to it. How do you anticipate your type of storytelling being received in this digital age? This project is about recording where I go and who I talk with, and sharing that with people in a form that will last a while. Recording stories as illustrations, putting those together in a book, and having that sit in the Brooklyn Art Library might not have the energy that digital storytelling would, but the downside of the energy of digital is that it is constantly changing, with old content deleted to make room for new. I think in this digital age, something physical and original, without copies and that can’t just be deleted, is almost more valuable than ever, and I think people are interested in that. I still hope to use digital media to document the process, to engage backers while doing the project, and to bring the wisdom and the search for it to a larger audience. Storytelling is storytelling no matter the form it takes, and part of the challenge of the project will be finding how traditional and digital best complement each other. And I’m excited for that.
Who is a mentor of yours? My Grandfather Fred Ekman, and Great-Grandfather Harold Ekman were both artists, who both traveled, drawing and painting what they saw. I think growing up around their art influenced me to record my own perspective through art, and learned a lot studying their work. This project definitely has their influence at its roots.
If you had the opportunity to include one well-known person in your book, who would you choose?
I would talk with [President] Obama on Nov. 7th, about the outcome of the election the day before [it happens], and have a sample of the wisdom of modern day kings.
As The Wisdom Project grows, who would be your dream artist to collaborate with? Errol Morris or Banksy. Morris, because I would love to see the project spread across mediums, especially to film, and his documentary work is genius. Banksy, because the most fitting place for wisdom from the people is displayed for others to see.
What is an inspirational quote or lyric you want to leave off with? “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk with eyes turned upward. For there you have been, and there you long to return.” – Da Vinci –
You can follow “The Wisdom Project” stories from everyday people around the U.S., as Nathan will be filling a sketchbook with their stories and illustrations.