• About Nate

    About Nate

    Nate Otto is a Chicago based artist and illustrator.

    Contact Nate directly at ottonate@gmail.com

    Nate Otto

    All I want to do is paint.

    Nate Otto is an artist, illustrator, 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.

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

    (Updated 02/02/2020)

    Recent/Upcoming client work:

    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:

    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:

    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