Missouri Southern State University logo
Missouri Southern State University logo

Nathan Lee McAlister

Visual Art, K-12 Art Education

Artist Bio

Nathan Lee McAlister is an artist, musician, and teacher from southwest Missouri. Nathan grew up with a strong appreciation for his deep running roots in the Ozarks, including Wyandotte and early pioneer ancestry. At age 10, he began playing the fiddle and has continued to play an active role in preserving the traditional fiddle styles of the Ozarks and Green Country region of Oklahoma. Like many artists, Nathan found joy in visual art from a very young age and continued his education in visual art at Crowder College and Missouri Southern State University. He continues to find inspiration for his artistic work while traveling the Ozarks and Great Plains. Nathan graduates in the Fall 2020 semester with a double major in Visual Art and K-12 Art Education and looks forward to inspiring a new, diverse group of young artists in his classroom.

Artist Statement

I knew from a very young age that I felt very connected to the area where I was growing up. Born at Claremore, Oklahoma Indian Clinic and raised in the far southwestern corner of Missouri, I am granted a unique viewpoint of the region where I live. Situated between the Ozark hills of Missouri and Arkansas and the expansive prairie of Oklahoma and Kansas, I am attracted to the contrast of the cultural, artistic, and geographic landscape of the areas I dwell and explore. My Native American heritage is a proud component of my life, and interweaves the pioneer spirit shared by my ancestors who have deep running roots in the region. This, overlaid with the epic landscape of Middle America continues to drive the narrative and aesthetic of my work.

My work is a multimedia tribute to this life in the Ozarks and Great Plains of America that I share with my forefathers. My expeditions across the hills and prairies have granted me an experience few others can share. Through traditional music, drawing, painting, and craft, I present the sights and sounds of rural America in a way only I can experience them. Whether I am sitting on my porch casually sawing the fiddle, crawling through the brush to sketch bison, or standing in an Oklahoma field to photograph a roaring tornado, I am actively engaged with an experience that is unique to my home. For most viewers, the resulting artwork is a less intense and more intimate way to share these experiences. For the artist, it allows me to reflect and savor the experience time and again.

I make art out of love. I simply love where I came from. This work is a love letter to my ancestors, my home, and future generations of those who share the spirit of the American West.