Nathan gives back with sales of his art

Soroptomist Eline Pearson and Nathan display a piece of the art you can purchase.

Soroptomist Eline Pearson and Nathan display a piece of the art you can purchase.

Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2016 6:00 am

Many mountain artists are known for their generosity, often donating the work to fundraisers that benefit a number of nonprofit organizations.

Nathan Hidajat is one of those artists. What makes him different is his age: Nathan is just 13 and an 8th-grader at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School.

His charity work began long before the Hidajat family moved to Lake Arrowhead from Iowa, where Nathan was born. As an 8-year-old 2nd-grader in Ames, Nathan raised money for Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization that “provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations,” according to their website.

People who made a $20 donation to Charity: Water got one of Nathan’s paintings in return.

He gave up his 8th birthday, asking instead for donations to Charity: Water. He raised $3,400—enough to help drill a well in Sierra Leone for a school.

For that work, Nathan was recognized by his congressman in Iowa.

While working on this campaign, Nathan also entered the Doodle 4 Google competition. As one of the top 40 of 100,000 entries, he and his family were flown to New York. While there, he visited the Charity: Water headquarters.

In 2012 the family moved to Lake Arrowhead so Nathan’s sister Neva could train at the Ice Castle. Now 10, Neva trains in Riverside since the local ice rink’s closing. Because of her schedule, she is home schooled. Younger sister Nina, almost 9, is a student at Lake Arrowhead Elementary School.

Nathan has loved painting since he was very young but, he said, got serious when he was 8.

After moving to the mountain, Nathan met Alma Borcuk, a member of the Mountain Arts Gallery, and started studying with her.

“I wanted to try some new styles,” Nathan said. “Now I’m getting more confident in painting with a brush.” He used to use colored pencils, he noted. His favorite medium is watercolor.

“Nathan is an art teacher’s dream student,” Borcuk said. “He has natural artistic talent and, on top of that, he listens and takes instruction very well.

“He is a lot of fun to teach because he gets it!” she added. “From zero experience on Chinese brush painting techniques just over a year ago, he is now painting like a pro, ready to tackle more complex subjects.

“I’m so proud of what he has accomplished with his art, especially his philanthropy. I won’t be surprised if he becomes famous someday and I will be so honored to have been a part of his artistic development,” Borcuk said.

The philanthropy Nathan began as an 8-year-old continues today. Because he and his family immediately felt the mountain community was “really nice,” Nathan decided he wanted to help out the school by selling cards on which his work is printed.

He donated several of his paintings and accompanying notecards to the Rim of the World Educational Foundation for the silent auction at their fashion show last May. He also sold his cards at the farmers market in Lake Arrowhead Village over the July 4th weekend. Nathan donated 50 percent of the proceeds to the Rim Ed Foundation.

After Jo Bonita Rains, president of the Foundation and a member of Soroptimist International of Rim of the World, saw Nathan’s work, she commissioned a painting of daffodils to honor the late Lori Pearson. She was the mastermind behind the demonstration garden at Tavern Bay and the driving force behind the Soroptimists’ annual sale of daffodil bulbs.

Nathan presented the painting to Lori’s sister, Elaine Pearson, at a Soroptimists’ meeting.

“I painted these daffodils in honor of Lori, who helped beautify the mountain,” he told Elaine.

At that meeting he also sold notecards, donating half of the proceeds to the Soroptimists for their work in the community. In addition, he donated half of what he had been paid to create the painting back to the group.

When he’s not painting, Nathan enjoys studying martial arts, both kenpo karate and wing chun, a type of kung fu. They are completely separate disciplines, he said, with wing chun more for close combat.

Nathan also does volunteer work at the library and the hospital. His ultimate goal is to be an orthopedic surgeon. He will, however, keep creating his art.

To view Nathan’s work and order notecards, visit nzhart.com. It is also available at Jurassic Fossils in Lake Arrowhead Village.