by Brian Lamar, Assignment Editor
Nate Stirrat, the school resource officer for Long Beach High School and owner of Haute Designs by Nate, attempts to capture the beauty around him on a daily basis for fun, relaxation and a bit of therapy through artistic expression.
As a former Tactical Air Control specialist with the U.S. Navy, Stirrat developed a passion that has stuck with him and served him as he toured the world and used it as his blank canvas.
“I got into photography when I was active duty military. I collected terabytes upon terabytes of imagery from all around the world that the world has never seen due to anxiety of them not being accepted,”
Years ago, Stirrat was on the bad end of a divorce. He was distraught emotionally. His life, it seemed, had taken a turn for the worse.
“After I got divorced, I got depressed. I found myself watching the sunrise one morning. I submitted a sunrise photo to the city’s Facebook page every day for two years,” said Stirrat.
Eventually, people started noticing Nate’s unique eye and talent for finding the perfect shot. Stirrat noticed that there was a growing fan base who were now asking for photos every day. That’s with Stirrat knew that something stirring within him.
“After I noticed that there was interest in my work. I took my marketing and design knowledge and began to do logos, pics and other stuff,” said Stirrat.
Last year, Stirrat opened Haute Designs by Nate where he was able to begin producing custom artwork for businesses and an Air BnB. Stirrat has amassed a following of customers who have depended on him to capture a special moment in time.
“In regards to my photography clients, my goal is not to have 100 pics on a disc. My goal is to get that one picture that is so perfect that they put it on a wall. What makes it different are the art pieces that people put on a wall. I strive to get a piece that helps someone remember that day and relive that happy moment over and over,” said Stirrat.
Although his clients have been extremely happy and things are running smoothly, Stirrat said there were rocky times in the beginning.
“One of my biggest challenges was getting my name out there and marketing myself. That is where it is hard going from my day job as an officer and kinda being a private person to having to cross over that gap and being open and personable with people. You have to find that balance with customers. You have to be able to share experiences and find that connection,” he said.
Although Stirrat does events like walk and clicks with other photos, he hopes to build the Long Beach artistic community even more.
“One of my short-term goals is to partner up and create an outdoor park setting for an art display and art walk called the “Starving Artist” and proceeds go to feeding the homeless. Artists from painters to photographers that people don’t know yet. It gives local artists a chance to get noticed and to also give back. They can receive the money to pay for their materials, but the agreement will be that the rest goes to the homeless and the food pantry,” said Stirrat.
“In Long Beach, we don’t have anything like this and somebody needs to step up. It is a way to get people out,” he said.
Another longer-term goal is for Stirrat to open his own gallery and wine bar
I am working now to have my own gallery/wine bar where people can come in, see works of art and have a glass of wine. I want to call it the “Frozen Grape”. It will be a brick and mortar place that is inviting where space can be used for numerous artistic,” he explained.
(Photos by Haute Designs)