One lesson that can lead to success: dare to be different. Rather than follow a traditional career choice – a banker, a lawyer, a teacher - Nathan Biancardi of Valparaiso went against the grain.
“Art is great because there is so much variety to it,” he said. “It doesn't go with the norm of society. I love to see the joy that it can bring people.”
Biancardi is a self-employed artist and has become a popular and well-recognized caricature artist in the community. Local businesses frequently hire him to do caricatures at their community or employee events. Art has been a part of Biancardi’s life since he was young, which is not surprising, because he is the son of two artists who are his biggest cheerleaders.
“My parents have always been there for me every step of the way,” Biancardi said. “They never let me stray away from my dreams and encourage me even when things get difficult.”
Every artist has a different form of inspiration; It can come from anywhere. Biancardi’s mostly has come from the big screen.
“All of my ideas used to come from old black and white movies I used to watch with my dad,” he said. “These old movies are like looking into a different world and offer a different perspective. It has led to a lot of great ideas for my work.”
It hasn’t always been the easiest career choice –being self-employed has a long list of struggles. But Biancardi has loved every second of being an artist even in the hardest of times.
“Of course there have been challenges, but I am of course grateful for them,” Biancardi said. “All my struggles have made me who I am today. Being self-employed has given me the freedom to create and explore different mediums. I get to keep growing and do what I love because of it.”
The community of Valparaiso has also served as a big inspiration for Biancardi. He believes the community has come a long way and thinks it’s been very good to him. No place is perfect, though, and Biancardi still believes there is a lot of room to improve here in Valparaiso.
“I think Valpo has grown into a great place. It has helped shape me into the artist I am,” Biancardi said. “Art can help bring a community together and make it seem very diverse. It can help give a business its soul.”
Biancardi’s work goes beyond the community. He has used it to help his mother with a program she started that is aimed to help dementia patients by participating in water coloring.
“I love doing it because, for one, it's great to help my mom after all she’s done for me,” Biancardi said. “On top of that, it’s so great seeing the joy all of the patients get from creating their work.”
No matter what, Biancardi always stays true himself. He has come a long way from getting his start at the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival seven years ago. He wants the world to know that Art is a gateway to many possibilities.
“I am going to work as much as I can and create as much work as possible. The great thing about art is that its able to reach into the human soul and fill a void. There is no better feeling than seeing my work accomplish that.”