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Acrylic and grease pencil painting of a golden dragon with 12 burning candles with a black background by Robert Nava

Robert Nava
Candle Dragon, 2019
Acrylic and grease pencil on canvas
73 x 68 inches (185.4 x 172.7 cm)

After lining up praise for his recent sold-out exhibition with Night Gallery in LA, we managed to intercept Robert Nava as he prepared for a debut solo with Copenhagen's V1 Gallery on September 20th. The Brooklyn-based artist will be introducing a new series of works that continue the same body of work.

Influenced by myths, fantasy, pulsating techno, and pinball machine aesthetics, Nava's new paintings seem to get even more complex and elaborate in wild melange of unseen amalgams and creatures. Purposely unlearning the skills and creative process that earned him an MFA from Yale in 2011, Nava approaches his work with a child's free spirit, working on a large canvas as intuitively as he draws in his sketchbooks. He embraces error and irregularity as key elements of his oeuvre, continuously working to create distance between his adult self and the final result, in a practice filled with constant self-doubt through which he channels his artistic confidence. It's that unfettered charge into process that brings his abstraction into another realm.

We were happy to share a cup of coffee with Robert on a rainy morning in Amsterdam and talk about the current state of his practice, his work, and plans for the future.