Big Fan

It’s always fun to give someone a tour of Nateland. Showing his art, explaining his obsessions, telling his story, and ours – it always ends up a positive exercise, where Nate and the Katz’ come out looking amazing. (That sounds boastful, but what can I tell ya. The response is always the same).

A local denizen of the art world had seen Nate’s exhibit at the Smithy, getting in under the wire on the very last day. She was bowled over and offered her help in moving Nate Katz to the next level. She’s got vast connections where it counts. Last Sunday, she came over for some instant immersion.

Karen put out the idea that Nate should draw some Cooperstown buildings, befores and afters, that would garner a local following.

“Did you give him the idea to draw strip malls?”


“Could you have ever imagined it?”


“Let his ideas flow. What makes him an artist is that he’ll come up with something.” It’s true; he always does.

Our art pal saw more of Nate’s malls, got the back story of how they began as a way to process what Nate left behind when we moved in 2003, how the long form pieces were real locations and how the vast collection of smaller works were fiction.

She also got a look at other works – the 3D cardboard cross section of our Lincolnshire house, his recently made Johnny Test cookbook and dictionary, Alpha Folks designs, the reams of printouts of toilets, DVD cases, and so on. Overwhelmed, she took to writing notes in her small spiral notebook to keep track.

After a walk through the main part of the house, we headed back to the guest room where more of Nate’s inventory resides. I explained Nate’s story and how we came to move here. I told her about this blog, about the book proposal I’d written and how we‘ve always been behind Nate’s development and his work.

She was here for more than an hour, processing all there was to see and explore and, as happens when someone gets deeper into Nate, she’s hooked. I’d heard from a mutual friend that our new patron couldn’t sleep for all the ideas that ran through her head about Nate and his work.


Gallery shows in New York, Chicago and Seattle? Museum exhibits? The sky seems to be the limit for Nate, so buy now, before he becomes the darling of the art world, the next pop culture star, and he forgets all the little people who got him there.

Actually, he already forgets most of the people he meets.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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