Flag Art by Nimai Kesten

Nimai Kesten in front of some of his portraits, August 2013.  Photo from the Art Nerd Los Angeles blog.
Nimai Kesten in front of some of his portraits, August 2013. Detail from photo posted on the Art Nerd Los Angeles blog.

Nimai Kesten (www.nimaikesten.com) grew up in an abusive Hare Krishna boarding school in Lake Huntington, NY before transforming “into a loud-mouthed, rebellious, New York City graffiti writing skateboarder” and surfer.  He writes in his bio:

In his early 20’s, Nimai began to look at the life he carved out on the streets of New York for himself – skateboarding, graffiti, nightclubs, partying, models, fashion, and general juvenile superficial mayhem. And, suddenly, for the first time, he began to examine this pop culture world through, new, spiritual eyes. But the eyes of a man so horribly wronged by the leaders of a Faith he was born into, that the contradictions, confusion, and questions became all consuming.

Nimai moved to Venice Beach, California in 2002 to focus on his art as a cathartic means to make sense of his conflicting, personal ideas of ‘Faith’ and the corruption of one’s ‘Beliefs’.

In several of his pieces he has turned to the American flag and its contradictions.

America/Iraq knotted, 2013. Colored pencils on paper, tar.
America/Iraq knotted, 2013. Colored pencils on paper, tar.
Black and White Tar flag, 2013. 33"/66" canvas, acrylic paint, tar.
Black and White Tar flag, 2013. 33″/66″ canvas, acrylic paint, tar.
Flag (Golden Knot), 2013. 64"/31.5" acrylic paint, oil paint, polyester resin, canvas.
Flag (Golden Knot), 2013. 64″/31.5″ acrylic paint, oil paint, polyester resin, canvas.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold, 2014.  33x55", canvas, oil paint, acrylic paint, polyester resin.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold, 2014. 33×55″, canvas, oil paint, acrylic paint, polyester resin.

Thanks to the contemporary flag art blog flagworkz.tumblr.com for bringing this remarkable artist to our attention!

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Author: SDM

Ethnography * Technology * Design

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