• About Nate

    About Nate

    Nate Otto is a Chicago based artist and illustrator.

    Contact Nate directly at ottonate@gmail.com

    Nate Otto

    Prolific artist, Nate Otto, lives on the south side of Chicago with his wife and two young children. He has had at least eight solo shows and done over fifty murals. In addition he has done art projects for several impressive companies large and small.

    Since the pandemic started Nate has primarily been selling his art directly to people, but he still occasionally shows in galleries.

    It's been four years! I had a bunch of shows and I did eight murals a year, and did a bunch of shows, working with All Star Press, Vertical gallery, and self produced show. And despite the way I wrote this sentence, I'm almost done with a novel I started a few months ago.

    All I want to do is paint.

    Nate Otto is an artist, and muralist based in Chicago. His work occupies its own lane somewhere in between the worlds of folk art, street art, lowbrow art, and contemporary fine art. His paintings and drawings are ruminations on urban life and landscape and stylistic explorations into what Nate dubs “whateveriwanttodoism.”

    2018 was a busy year. In addition to art shows in Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco, Nate did over a dozen murals in Chicago, and additional mural work in Detroit, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Madison. He also did client work with Apple, Vans, and others, and illustration for NPR, Warby Parker, and Basecamp.

    2019 saw nate have three solo shows at Yard Dog in Austin, Galerie F in Chicago, and a drawing show at Adventureland in Chicago. He also did his largest exterior mural to date in Pilsen, and additional murals for Goose Island, Marriott, and a slew of private clients. His art adorned CTA blue and red line trains as part of an advertisement for Goose Island. He did a speaking engagement for Vans, custom artwork for Pizzeria Bebu, and made art on 100 wooden taps for Goose Island. In addition to these jobs and many more, Nate hosted several open studio events in his Wicker Park studio.

    In 2020 Nate did a few murals for Walgreens early in the year, but when the pandemic spread he had to cancel murals in NY, Houston, and LA, and a solo show in Belgium. In March of 2020 Nate and his family moved to the south side, and Nate focused on making art in his home studio and selling paintings directly. He managed to do a few murals and project for Twitch and Collective Arts distillery, but he mostly he made small works and sold them directly to collectors.

    2021 saw Nate returning to galleries in the form of a sold out solo show at Galerie F. He also did a handful of other murals and projects and sold over two hundred paintings directly to collectors.
    His mural at 103rd and Wood in Beverly became a celebrated neighborhood feature.

    In 2022 Nate continued to paint murals and sold work directly to people through his store. He cut ties with all galleries but did participate in a few group shows.

    2023 has seen several murals and projects for Google and others. An upcoming print release happening soon at All Star Press. In August Nate will have a solo show at Spaced Out Studio in Chicago.

    A video in Nate's studio
    This was a few years and 2 studios ago...

    (Updated 02/02/2020)

    Recent/Upcoming client work: (written in 2019)

    Walgreens murals at old Post Office Building, Large exterior mural in Pilsen, Goose Island (tap art, ad image, mural) Warby Parker (store art design), Vans (live mural event)), Chase Bank (live mural event), Apple (today at Apple presentation), WBEZ (illustration), LG (illustration), Jeff Tweedy (poster design), Facebook (mural), Basecamp (mural, illustration), Nike (mural), The Distance (illustration), Northwestern University (illustration), Doodl Club(coloring book), Clif Bar (illustration), Uprise (skateboard design), Skokie (outdoor mural), Hilldale (mural design), Interior Define (mural, in store artwork), VML (mural), Signal (speaking, exhibition), Hs2 Solutions (mural), Zachary Hotel (mural, print design), Netskope (mural, t-shirt design), Madison Library Bubbler (murals)

    Gallery partners past and present:
    Galerie F, Adventureland, Vertical Gallery, Yard Dog Art Gallery, Campfire Gallery, Chicago Truborn, La Luz De Jesus, All Star Press, Firecat Projects,
    Miishkooki, Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, Peanut Gallery, John Molloy Gallery, and many more...

    Deconstructing the cityscape. Buildings devolve into shapes. Blocks fold in upon themselves. Building imagined cities in line form; commercial, industrial, residential — three dimensional and flat, but then the faces emerge. Iconic, reduced, backed up to the fluffy cloud sky. Styles battle for turf.

    Nate's work is inspired and influenced by art brut, abstract expressionism, graphic design, comic art, geometric abstraction, and the onslaught of imagery of that pours down on him from his perch in Chicago Illinois. Primarily known for his dense and illustrative cityscapes on panels, Nate also has been developing multiple idiosyncratic painting styles of his own for years.

    The buildings in my work are inspired by the buildings in Chicago but not directly reflective of them. I’m thinking about cities; their density, the neighborhoods, the inhabitants of the buildings, and the nature of city blocks, while I’m working on the images, but they are not based on any specific places. In some pieces the buildings are reduced to shapes and they encroach from all directions in geometrical patterns, as the city can sometimes be omnipresent, and surround you at every turn. My wife and I have travelled to many cities in the past few years; New York, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul. Athens, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco, and I absorb the nature of those cities and aspects of all of them, and those elements find their way into the art, but the places are imagined.

    Solo Shows:
    Nate Otto: Home Sweet Home, Firecat Projects 2024
    Nate Otto: Neo Con, Innovant, Merchandise Mart 2024
    Southside, Nate Otto, Nongallery 2023
    Neighborhoods, Nate Otto,Galerie F 2021 (10/08-10/23)
    Dream Homes, Nate Otto, Galerie F, 2019 (10/4-10/25)
    Drawing by Nate Otto,Adventureland,2019(5/3-6/1)
    Nate Otto: City and Sky, Yard Dog Austin 2019
    Nate Otto: Imagined Cities, Yard Dog, Austin, 2018
    Nate Otto: Place over Time," CDM/Galerie F, 2017
    "Nate Otto, You Are Here," Firecat Projects, 2016
    "Nate Otto,"Habitats and Inhabitants,"Bubbler,Mad WI
    “Nate Otto: Cities, Towns, and Color Fields”
    Vertical Gallery, Chicago Feb, 2015
    “Nate Otto Works on Paper,”
    Adventureland Gallery, Aug, 2014
    Hotbox Mobile Gallery, Chicago, 2013
    Art Loop Chicago, 22 S Wabash, 2013
    Let’s Avoid the Maze, The Meadow Gallery, 2011

    Notable Group Shows:
    There has already been a few in 2024
    I know I did a bunch in 2023
    I know I did a bunch in 2022...

    Food, Galerie F
    Coaster Show, Nucleus Gallery, Portland

    Coaster Show, Nucleus Gallery, Portland
    12"x12" show, Elephant Room Gallery, Dec.

    10 year Anniversary Show, Elephant Room, Dec
    Group Show, The Dime, March, April
    Yard Dog Gallery, The originals, curated by Nate Otto
    Smalls to the Walls, Galerie F, Feb

    Galerie F, Restless II, January
    Images Now, Chicago artist Showcase, Uncle Art Gallery, Feb.
    Galerie F, Urbs in Horto, Featuring Nate Otto, March
    Open Gallery, Glenview IL, Humanity and Innocence, August
    Copro Gallery, Blab Show, Sept
    Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, SF CA, Small Art Sale, Nov

    Galerie F, March 2017
    "Men I Love" Modern Love Club, New York, April,May
    Yarddog, Austin Texas, ongoing display
    Prime8 annual event, House of Vans, July
    Galerie F, Secret Walls group show, July
    "Asta and Otto," Chicago Truborn, Oct,Nov

    Holiday Group Show, Campfire Gallery, SF, Dec.
    "Sweet Spoils" Miishkooki Gallery, Oct
    "Cratedigger," Gabba Gallery, LA, Aug.
    "Drawing Never Dies" Redline, Denver, July
    "Street View" Galerie F, July
    "Nate Otto Cities" Galerie F, June
    "City Pastoral" Ian Fergusun, Heidi McDowell, Nate Otto
    Campfire Gallery. March
    You Are Beautiful, Galerie F


    I am an Orange Construction Cone,
    Open House Contemporary, April,
    Wood Metal Screw, Gabba Gallery L.A., Aug-Sept
    Button-O-Matic Artist Series, National Museum of Mexican Art,
    Chicago's Very Own, Chicago Truborn, Oct.


    You are Beautiful, Galerie F
    RedBull Canvas Cooler Chicago, Moonlight Studios
    Stolen Property at John Molloy Gallery, New York City
    Experimental Arts Exposition," Madison WI,
    Holiday group show, Vertical Gallery
    Wish List Show, Gabba Gallery, Los Angeles


    Deck the Halls, Vertical Gallery, Chicago
    Art+Design, Dock6, Chicago
    Artprize, Grand Rapids, MI
    Coaster Show, La Luz De Jesus, Los Angeles
    Beethoven Festival, Chicago
    The Bus, La Luz De Jesus, Los Angeles
    Chicago Bike Winter Show, Galerie F, Chicago


    Dock 6 Design and Art Series #4,
    Bluetown Skateboards Launch, Peanut Gallery Chicago


    Don’t Eat the Snow, Happy Dog Gallery, Chicago
    Annual Art Competition, Beverly Arts Center, Chicago

    2016 Facebook Artist in Residence / Chicago, March
    2015 IAP grant from DCASE
    2013 State Street banners "Nate Otto Cityscapes"
    2013-16 Basecamp Artist in Residence
    2011 Beverly Arts Center Competition, figurative award

    B.A. Columbia College 2004


    Goose Island
    Clif Bar
    Chase Bank
    Hotel Zachary
    Chicago Loop Alliance
    Village of Skokie
    Pivotal Labs
    Doodl Club
    Kellogg School of Business
    International Arrivals / Ooly
    Soho House
    Chicago Loop Alliance
    Jason Fried
    Tony Fitzpatrick
    Jeff Tweedy
    Columbia College
    Simply Prose
    The Distance Podcast
    Morning Short Podcast
    Warrick Carter
    Women and Children First Bookstore
    Curbside Splendor Publishing
    Adam Seidel
    Troy Klyber
    Danny Shapiro
    Phusion Projects
    Redeye Eyewear
    Atomic Arts Studio
    The Dupuis Group
    3st Design
    Billy Craven
    Lillstreet Art Center
    Bluetown Skateboards
    Uprise Skate shop
    Misericordia Home
    Bridge Magazine
    Final Fight Family
    Patti Gilford Fine Arts
    La Luz de Jesus Gallery
    Gabba Gallery
    Campfire Gallery
    Canvas Primer
    King Art Collective
    Chicago Truborn
    Galerie F
    Firecat Projects
    Adventureland Works on Paper
    Vertical Gallery
    Madison Public Library