AN INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN CLINE

DBP: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you hail from? What is your home stretch of river?
Nathan Cline: My name is Nathan Cline. I’m 41 years young, and still a kid at heart. I paddle OC-1, C-1 and rafts. I’ve tried kayaking several times and I’ve even taken courses at the NOC, but I just don’t get it….lol. So, I stick to the single blade, it makes me, well… me. I have always surrounded myself with art, whether it’s drawing and painting or music. It all flows hand in hand. I live in Hickory NC, a small furniture town on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve been lucky to paddle a lot of rivers in the SE, but my home river, that would have to be the Wilson Creek. Now there is a love, hate relationship….

DBP: How did you get involved in whitewater?
NC: I was fortunate enough to be born into the whitewater family. My dad was one of the first in the area to paddle. I have so many childhood memories with paddling, from sitting in the bow of a canoe on the Lower Green, to pinning the raft at Big Pillow on French Broad sect 9, to even getting stuck in a hole and jumping out of my canoe….only for the canoe to remain upright and surf the hole for 30 minutes….lol!
DBP: What was the first drawing you did that was paddling themed?
NC: My first paddling theme drawing….wow! That’s tough. I can remember an acrylic in High School, that I painted….back when Dancers were HOT…lol. I did replicate a lot of William Neelys work and I sketched around a bit….
DBP: We noticed that your work is reminiscent of the late great William Neely. Who are your biggest influences artistically speaking?
NC: Yes, William Neely was a huge influence. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Neely in Charlotte in the early 90s. I grew up on The Whitewater Home Companion, Kayaks to Hell and Kayak: The Last Frontier books. I wore those books out from cover to cover….Reading his stories and descriptions, looking at his art, and even coloring the books… It was an outdoor, loving kids coloring book. 
I also like the creative style of VC Johnson….any DBP who has rode a skateboard in the 80s has seen his work. He was the artist for Powell Peralta Skateboards. Another long standing hobby of mine.

DBP: What is your preferred Dirtbagmobile when you hit the river, and what is your favorite rapid?
NC: My DBP mobile…that’s my girl! A 1997 Toyota Tacoma 4wd truck. That thing has over 400,000 miles and still runs like a top. Same motor and everything. I love my truck, we’ve seen a lot. I bounced her off a guardrail at GAF Festival release at the Nantahala….I was scoping for wood; yeah, I’ve got to get that fixed….lol.
My favorite rapid…That I’ve paddled….damn. There are so many…any rapid on the Ocoee, the first mile on the Upper Nantahala, Boatbuster, Thunder Hole and Triple Drop on Wilson Creek….this is a hard question.
DBP: Well DAYYUMMM that’s an impressive ride!
DBP: We’re stoked to announce that you’re doing the comic strip {enter name of strip here} for DBP Magazine. What was your inspiration in creating it? 
DBP: Was it challenging to get started doing freelance work and commissioned pieces? What was your biggest obstacle to overcome?
NC: There have been no challenges thus far. I have always had a group of friends and family say that they liked my work. It just took me finally realizing that I could do something with my art. There’s a love/hate relationship with Facebook nowadays. The day I decided to post my artwork on social media, that was a whirlwind. People from all over our whitewater community reached out and commented on my work. That was the day everything clicked and I realized that I could do this! Its been overwhelming, to say the least. Lots of love from our boater friends!

DBP: How can us dirtbags go about commissioning our own custom Nathan Cline piece? What do we need to provide? 
NC: If anyone is interested in a commissioned piece, send me an email with your idea or photo. Let me know what size and media you prefer. Note: Sorry, I cannot do acrylics/oils due to cost and the time frame involved….plus its expensive for you guys. You can chose from charcoal, pen and ink, water color, color pencil or a mix media (a combo of all above). If you have any questions, I can help you along. My contact info is [email protected] 
DBP: Thanks for your time Nathan! We look forward to enjoying your future work and reading the strip! 
NC: I appreciate the opportunity to provide you guys with some humorous eye candy. I’m completely blown away by everything that has transpired in these last few months. If it wasn’t for the love expressed by the DBP crew, I’d still have my doubts about my work. Thank you guys once again for this amazing opportunity! It speaks volumes, bro!
DBP: We’re just as stoked, homie! Cheers!!

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