[Editorial]

MATTE10: Creative Conversations w/ Nate Brown

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Nate Brown is the founder and creative director of Studio Institute in New York City. He has collaborated and produced high profile projects for some of the world’s biggest brands and icons including LVMH, Beyoncé, Alexander Wang, Nike, Patron and Calvin Klein.

Text

MATTE PROJECTS

Date

9/15/2023

In your own words, how would you identify as a ‘Creative’?
Being creative to me means being always curious, looking for answers to challenging questions, asking why, trying to see things from different perspectives, and being as observant of the world around me as possible.

What is one of the greatest challenges of working in a creative industry in NYC?
I think remaining focused is always a bit of a challenge. In a city with endless stimuli, it can be tough to consistently focus - leading to a lot of distractions… but this can be as much of a blessing as it is a curse, the city provides endless opportunities - it’s just tough to filter opportunities, and then distractions disguised as opportunities.

Where or who do you go to when you feel burnt-out?
Where? Spain, A Rave, The Gym, or My Bed. Who? My Mom, my best friends.

Where or who do you go to when you feel inspired?
I like to inspire myself through music and travel - a good DJ will endlessly inspire me at a great rave or party with a good crowd…or a dinner with friends…or a great book or podcast - I am obsessed with reading and listening to audiobooks and find endless inspiration in them…but sometimes just a walk around the block can inspire me - I’m pretty simple. I get more inspired by simple things around me than big, grand, events and experiences.

How are you measuring your success recently?
I’ve changed my perspective on success in the past year - I’m fully focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and re-learning how to walk. I think big grand goals can be distracting and you ignore the stepping stones in front of you to get you there… so I’ve just been focusing on the stepping stones. What are small actions I can take right now? So I guess my measurement is, did I do the small thing I wanted to do today? That's success for me now.

What advice can you give to someone looking to build their creative community?
Surround yourself with a variety of inspiring people from different industries who are best in class and what they do - I learn a lot from people outside the traditional creative community on a daily basis, people in different fields and areas of focus.

Do you feel that a healthy amount of risk is important to creative growth, or growth in general?
I think my risk profile is very liberal, so on a personal level I like to assume a healthy amount of risk in everything I do - but on a client side, I think subtle risk and pushing just a few steps outside of a comfort zone is the recipe for success…people are adverse to change, and you have to slowly move people outside of their zone of comfort to experience change, progress, and innovation. It doesn’t happen in these grand sweeping moments - it’s in small, seemingly inconsequential, moments.

How does one ‘survive’ as a creative in New York City?
My survival story probably isn’t that different from anyone else's, I moved here at a young age and hustled through various jobs that were all somewhat strategically aligned to where I wanted to work and what I wanted to be doing - but a lot of the growth was unplanned, and a product of being stubborn on the vision but highly flexible on the details. I believe you survive by being outside, in the world, and putting yourself in as many situations as you can to elicit a potential lucky moment - nothing amazingly groundbreaking has ever happened for me by being in front of my computer.

What was most important to you 10 years ago? What is most important to you now?
Focus is important to me now, and maybe was not so important to me ten years ago. Simplicity as well, stripping things down to their necessary components. Communication, clearly articulating what you want to say. Directness, say what you mean, mean what you say. These are all qualities I think I had to grow into that came as a result of gaining more confidence in what I do.

What’s still keeping you in New York?!
NYC is the energizer battery to me - I like energy and surrounding myself with it at all times is what keeps me in NYC - the constant cycle of newness, it’s charm, it’s endless offerings at all times of the day and night - it’s not a real place, but inhabited by the realest of people, and that's why I love it.

Describe MATTE in one sentence.
MATTE’S always been an incubator of creativity from my perspective, from events and experiences to a breeding ground for the next generation of NYC creatives

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