Nathan's striking images combine elements of portraiture with graphic art. His paintings often give the viewer a tantalizing glimpse of larger, undefined narratives. Strong personalities emerge from Nathan's canvasses to act out both the salient and mundane moments from their emotional lives within the viewers' mind.
For each of the paintings in Ballads, James' borrowed from world of bards, minstrels and lyricists to construct narrative. The songs used for each are identified in the titles by the accompanying sub-titles in parentheses. These are used to help inform the viewer of the piece of music that originally motivated the work while also providing the painting with interesting, sometimes dark, subtexts. For example, the painting 'Forever (Young Charlotte)', combines as a snapshot of a typical young couple posing together in the backyard before heading to their prom with a 17th century New England folk song ('Young Charlotte') about a similarly young girl who freezes to death on her way to a ball.
Nathan uses a combination of techniques including traditional painting, silk-screen printing, and digital manipulation to achieve his distinctive works. He finds inspiration from many sources including trash TV, graphic design, vintage photography, popular magazines and his own passion for skate culture.