Once upon a time in Japan: in conversation with Richard Nadler

December 14, 2022
Journal article cover

Mimi Nguyen: You’ve become a full-time artist recently, congratulations! How did this decision come about?

Richard Nadler: My grandfather was a painter, my mother painted as well and my father was collecting and selling African art. I was always surrounded by art in my daily life and I knew at one day I have to do the same and finally I started doing so - first as an art collector at the beginning of HEN and also as an artist. Art is my absolute passion and for me it's an absolute honor to be able to do what I love on a daily basis to secure my livelihood.

Mimi Nguyen: What brought you to GAN and AI art? How would you describe your practice?

Richard Nadler: GAN OGs like Mario Klingemann, Ganbrood for example brought me to GAN/AI - I always wanted to know how they made their wonderful artworks - so I started researching about GAN and AI and started to do try my first steps in this interesting technical world. I don't mint raw AI works - so no easy prompt entering and minting for me. All the artworks start on my handmade sketches. I try to redefine my artworks from time to time without losing my handwriting.

Richard Nadler, Japanese GenArt Series, 2022. Preview output. Image courtesy of the artist.

Mimi Nguyen: What inspires you as an artist? I’m fascinated with your collaboration with Leander Herzog - Gerhard - a generative project with multiple layers of color and data, mixed, moved and painted over in realtime, where you created the textures to control composition and color. You can see the inspiration here with Richter’s paintings, but what about your works that oscilate around the Japanese culture

Richard Nadler: My father worked in Japan for some years and whenever I could visit him I traveled from Germany to Japan to experience this wonderful country with him. The landscape, people, and Japanese culture just fascinated me from the beginning on and it became a big part of my daily life. My dad passed away when I was 18 and one of our last trips to Japan where during the Sakura - the cherry blossom. Thats also a reason why I am emotionally related to that lovely country. So to sum up I was always fascinated by Japan and my memories with my father so I decided to express my love and passion through my Japanese dedicated art.

Richard Nadler and Leander Herzog, Gerhard #355, 2022. Image courtesy of the owner.

Mimi Nguyen: Can you tell us more about your works for the Magical Realism show?

Richard Nadler: Behind each artwork, there lies a story.

Burnout: Once upon a time in Japan, there was a man named Kenji who worked as a salaryman in a large corporation. From a young age, Kenji had been taught the importance of hard work and dedication, and he threw himself into his job with a fierce determination to succeed. He spent long hours at the office, often working late into the night and on weekends, and he rarely took time off for himself. Over time, however, the demands of his job began to take a toll on him. He started to feel burnt out and exhausted, and he struggled to keep up with the pace of work.

One day, Kenji reached his breaking point. He was working on an important project and was under immense pressure to deliver it on time, but he was so tired that he could barely think straight. In the end, he made a mistake that cost the company a lot of money and caused him to lose face in front of his colleagues. Devastated by his failure, Kenji realized that he had let his work consume him and that he had neglected other important aspects of his life.

Feeling lost and unsure of what to do next, Kenji decided to take a step back and reassess his priorities. He quit his job and started traveling, exploring different parts of Japan and immersing himself in the country's rich culture and history. Along the way, he met new people and made new friends, and he gradually began to rediscover his passion for life. In the end, Kenji learned that true success was not just about achieving great things in his career, but also about finding balance and fulfillment in all areas of his life.

Burnout | Bān’auto | バーンアウト by Richard Nadler | Verse
Verse

Futuristic Monk: In a distant future, Japan had undergone a radical transformation. Advances in technology and science had enabled the creation of new and wondrous things, but they had also brought about great change and upheaval. In the midst of this chaos, a young monk named Akira sought to find inner peace and clarity.

Raised in a traditional temple high in the mountains, Akira had been trained in the ways of the ancient sages and had mastered the art of meditation and mindfulness. But he was also curious about the world outside the temple, and he yearned to explore the new technologies and innovations that were reshaping society.

One day, Akira decided to leave the temple and venture out into the world. He traveled to the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, where he was amazed by the sights and sounds of the futuristic city. Everywhere he looked, he saw towering skyscrapers and gleaming machines, and he heard the hum of robots and machines working tirelessly.

But Akira soon discovered that not everyone in the city was happy. Many people were stressed and overworked, and they struggled to keep up with the relentless pace of change. Akira saw people who were lost and disconnected, and he felt a deep sense of compassion for them.

Determined to help them, Akira began to offer his services as a monk. He taught people the ancient wisdom of mindfulness and meditation, and he helped them to find inner peace and clarity. Over time, Akira's reputation grew, and more and more people sought him out for his guidance.

In the end, Akira realized that his mission was not just to help individuals, but to inspire a wider cultural shift towards mindfulness and balance. He continued to teach and practice in the city, and he remained a beacon of light and hope in an increasingly chaotic world.

Futuristic Monk | Mirai no shūdō-shi | 未来の修道士 by Richard Nadler | Verse
Verse

My better half: In a small gallery in the heart of Tokyo, a heartwarming artwork caught the eye of a young man named Taro. The piece was called "My Better Half," and it depicted two brothers, their faces gently touching.

Taro was immediately drawn to the painting, and he felt a deep sense of connection to the brothers depicted in it. He had a close relationship with his own brother, and the artwork made him feel grateful for the bond they shared.

As he stood there, lost in thought, the artist who had created the piece walked up to him. His name was Koji, and he was a talented young painter who had been inspired by his own relationship with his brother to create the artwork.

Koji explained to Taro that the brothers in the painting were himself and his older brother, who he had always looked up to and admired. He told him that they had been through a lot together, and that they supported and loved each other unconditionally.

Taro was moved by Koji's story, and he felt a deep admiration for their relationship. He asked him if he would be willing to paint a portrait of himself and his own brother, so that he could have a beautiful reminder of their bond.

Koji agreed, and over the next few weeks, he worked tirelessly to create a stunning painting that captured the essence of Taro's relationship with his brother. When it was finished, he presented it to him, and Taro was overwhelmed by its beauty.

Taro hung the painting in his living room, and every time he looked at it, he felt a sense of warmth and love. It reminded him of all the good times he had shared with his brother, and of the unbreakable bond they shared. And he was grateful to Koji for helping him to cherish and appreciate that bond.

Mimi Nguyen: You’ve been working with GAN, AI and this year with generative art - what’s next?

Richard Nadler: I have a lot of secret hot projects with lovely artists for 2023 in the pipeline - one of the biggest happenings in 2023 will be the 2nd drop with my dear Leander Herzog - looking forward to this since the last drop. Stay tuned for more infos for 2023. Hand painted physical artworks might drop as well - I feel that 2023 will be very exciting and full of explosive art.


See the works of Richard Nadler on Verse's exhibition "Magical Realism: Part I" on Wednesday 14 December at 6:00PM BST | 1:00PM ET


Subscribe to get the latest on 
our artists, exhibitions and more.