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Nate Ulmer_1.jpg
(Image: Courtesy of Nate Ulmer)

Artist of the Week: Nate Ulmer

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating?
Nate Ulmer: I've been making things and messes my whole life, but seriously started in 2006 when I finished massage school and started making cold process soap and aromatherapy products. 2011 I took a pottery class and was bit with that bug. I decided to go to art school, finishing my BFA in 2015 and my MFA in 2018.

Do you work with other mediums?
My preference is to work in many mediums and genres; it's a function of my ADHD.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
You know how in the "Terminator" movies the bad guy dies the first time, but we the audience know he's not dead. And we get a visual that shows their internal processes rerouting and connecting. To me, that is an apt metaphor for my own process, which I would also describe as chaotic, equilibrium and non-linear, holographic —that sounds fluffy, but again imagine the Terminator AI brute-forcing its way through that chaos, and finding connections that were not originally intended.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I like this quote, "Inspiration flows from the process," but for me is also informed by sensory/sensual data and relational connections.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best — nature, food, profiles, etc.?
I like nature, but also quiet stillness helps me go within.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
My pointillist painting I did from a photograph of my father camping when we were on a road trip through Montana when I was a child.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Not feeling like a part of any group. I've felt like "other" for most of my life. Deep meaningful social connection is something I've longed for but is something I fear I will not achieve in this life.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
I tend to post WIP (work in progress) on my Instagram, @nulmer57. My gallery website also has some of my work,

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
I opened my own art gallery last July, basalt Collective; it's been fun and scary and the whole emotional gamut!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I like a dirty white Chai; two to four shots of white coffee espresso in a Marsala Chai blend that has good cardamom, nutmeg and clove — the spice must flow!