Born and based in the sunny, seaside paradise of Newcastle, Australia in 1986; Nathan Bell has been turning his talents to creating his whole life. Making art, playing in bands, producing digital content, and writing. He’s also a proud mental health advocate with lived experience of being on the autism spectrum, and going through bouts of schizophrenia. The symptoms of which he manages through his own tenacity, the support of his careers, and financial assistance from the Australian Government.

A well known character in Newcastle, Nathan can often be seen busking and hawking his wares around town. Including his recently published book, ‘Kings Of The New Age: The Quest Of The Balancing Stones.’ A fantasy sci-fi novel about Egyptian and Tibetan monks who create a cure for post-nuclear-war radiation poisoning. Inspired by the real life tales behind the Gosford Glyphs – A series of rock carvings that some say are proof of Egyptians coming to Australia thousands of years ago!

With all of Nathan’s creations being imbued with that special magic dust that is hard to describe yet inherent immediately. Along with being unique, otherworldly, and just plain fun!

Nathan’s recently published book ‘Kings Of The New Age: The Quest Of The Balancing Stones.’

Wanting to learn more about him, we sent Nathan some questions to answer over email.
Take a dive into his world, below…

Getting Acquainted

Name and date of birth?

Nathan Bell

14th November 1986

City, state, and country you currently call home?

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

City, state, and country you’re from?

Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia – but born in Wollongong.

Art by Nathan.

Please describe some memories – such as art, music, writing, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, travel, religion, work, crime… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:

* Your childhood:

One of my first favorite movies as a child was Ralph Bashki’s animation, Wizards. The movie was a catalyst for my obsessions with both post-nuclear apocalyptic stories and magical thinking. It also got me thinking about the battle between nature and technology. My mother would take me to the video store to borrow the movie on VHS and I would watch it over and over again.

Numerous people in my extended family have been in the military so there has always been discussion about war in my family. I also watched a lot of war documentaries as a kid so I’ve always thought about war and conflict a lot and this influences my art and music.

My mother is a socialist and raised me to be politically aware. When I was a child, she would teach me about the message of nonconformity and blind obedience to authority in George Orwell’s, 1984. This is why I will never conform to social norms and will always be an independent thinker.

The first Prime Minister I remember clearly was John Howard. I have some vague memories of Paul Keating but very little. Mr Howard came to power when I was 10 and that was about when I started paying attention to politics. I remember watching Question Time as a child and being very interested.

My dream of one day writing a fantasy novel began when I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as a child.

Nathan as a kid.

* Your teenage years:

As a teenager, I was absorbed in metal, punk and hip-hop. Rage Against The Machine was my biggest influence and steered me in the direction of being engaged in political activism.
The politics of Tupac Shakur also pushed me towards social justice issues. I fell in love with hip-hop as a teenager and dreamt of writing radical rap songs that would help change the world for the better. At the time, I dreamt of leading a revolution against capitalism and fascism.

The first time I recorded any music was at the Palais Youth venue in Newcastle. The centre does not exist anymore but at the time they had great equipment and staff who helped youth produce music.

Nathan in his teens.

* Your 20s:

At around twenty, I started to take producing music more seriously and teamed up with two mates, Peter and Adam Fraser, to start our band, Hadron C. We recorded two albums together using Peter’s home studio. We also produced several music videos.

That’s when I realized I loved editing films and wanted to direct movies in life if I could. I spent about six years working on content related to Hadron C including the Rise Up music video which Peter and I shot and I edited. I paid a professional dancer named Bella Sammut $500 to play the female revolutionary leader in the video. Bella was excellent, she followed directions and worked hard. I also paid an effects studio in Los Angeles called Final Light to add some effects to the video.
The song is a declaration of war against the elite establishment and the video is a protest clip against the Iraq Invasion which was still happening at the time.

Our other major video was for the song Apocalyptic Nightmare which is about surviving a nuclear war. The video was directed and edited by Ian Nicholson from Hyperdriven Productions in Sydney. He did it for $800. Final Light were also involved in this clip adding some special effects including the nuclear explosion at the end.

In my early twenties, I was very involved in mental health consumer advocacy. I was asked to speak at dozens of mental health events about my lived experience with mental illness. I was also offered opportunities to train as an advocate. This is where I learned public speaking skills.

At about twenty-four years old, I made my first attempt at writing a novel. It was going to be a post-nuclear apocalyptic story. I wrote about one hundred and fifty pages of inconsistent gibberish then gave up. Now I’m in my thirties and I have finally written that book and sold close to 700 copies with positive feedback.

In my late twenties, I participated in the Renew Newcastle arts program for around a year. Renew provided creators with unused office spaces in the CBD of Newcastle to run their creative businesses. Myself and an associate were given an office space in Hunter Street Mall. Our project was a documentary on Street performers in Newcastle and the local nightlife.

The 2015 video for Hadron C’s track ‘Apocalyptic Nightmare.’

* Your 30s so far:

Throughout my thirties, I have been heavily involved with the creative arts NDIS service, Rely-Ability. I was given National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding when I was in the psychiatric ward because I had a psychosis. I started with Rely-Ability straight after that and have been with the team since.
At Rely-Ability I am supported to produce a variety of art including animations, digital media, creative writing and painting. I have been producing loads of content throughout my thirties including my debut novel ‘Kings of the New Age: The Quest of the Balancing Stones,’ which I wrote with support from Rely-Abilty’s creative writing mentors Robert Burley and Brooke Forbes.
My thirties have been marked by the local success of this novel. I have sold nearly 700 copies and dozens of people have come back to me telling me that they love the book.

My thirties have been really good so far. I have built a reputation in Newcastle as a local content creator and artist. For the last two years, I have been working with Rely-Ability creative writing mentors on my new novel ‘22 Century Man’ which is due out later this year.

Another big achievement and memory of my thirties is my vlog series in which I discuss my thoughts on life. I have been filming the series of interviews for around a year and the collection now includes nearly 200 videos where I discuss my philosophies, politics and general views on life.
This project is like a video memoir for future generations.

Throughout the last two years, I have also been travelling around Australia filming performances of me playing my original songs in different locations. These trips have been an absolute blast. So far I have performed and filmed my songs in Brisbane City, Surfers Paradise, Newtown, Gosford, Maitland and Newcastle. All my videos can be viewed on my YouTube channel ‘Nathan Bell and the Revolutionaries’.
I will always cherish the memory of these trips.

A recent photo of Nathan.

Personal motto(s)?

“Live a life of purpose and meaning dedicated to your passions and you will have no regrets when death comes.”

What role did toys play in your childhood?
… and any favourites you remember?

Toys were the ultimate stimuli for my imagination. I loved creating fantasy scenarios for the figures to play out. I would create stories for the characters and voice their conversation out loud. This was a starting point for my love of fiction.
My all-time favourite toys were He-Man figures and Dino Riders.

As a kid, I would also draw my own characters on paper then cut them out and play with them like they were action figures. I called these toys Paper Men.

Art by Nathan.

Creativity Questions

When and why did you first become interested in art, writing, music, and everything creative?
… and any pivotal moments or influences?

My love for art really started with Marvel comic books that I read as a kid. I loved the images and dreamed of creating my own comics. As a child, I wanted to start my own comic book company and would draw my own comics.
As an artist, I have always wanted my creations to become a business. I am very business-minded. I have always dreamt of starting a video games company and a film studio. I view video games and film as art forms.

If you had to explain your creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?

I would explain that my art represents universal unity and love. I would say that my goal is to spread a message of peace throughout the cosmos.
I would also say that my art will teach them about the ways of humanity.

Who are some of your favourite writers, filmmakers, artists, and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?

I really enjoy reading fantasy, particularly Tolkien. He has the most vivid imagination and is a master of creating worlds.
I also really like fantasy by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman who wrote DragonLance. Their world is so elaborate and complex which is what I appreciate.

I’m a big fan of George Lucas as well. I see him as another master of creating worlds.
I like it when fictional worlds delve into the politics of it all and I like it when there are different groups with detailed histories and rivalries between the groups. I also like characters that have well-considered personalities and developed histories.

I’m a big fan of metal and hard rock. I really enjoy Black Sabbath, Tool, and Metallica but my favourites have always been Rage Against The Machine. The passion for political action and reform that Rage brings to their music really inspires me to fight for change through art.

If people wanted to check out your stuff, work with you, or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?

People are welcome to contact me on my personal Facebook, Nathan Bell or my Facebook page, Nathan Bell Artist.
You can also view loads of my media content on my YouTube channel ‘Nathan Bell and the Revolutionaries.

People can also by my graphic designs on a range of products at my Redbubble, and you can read some of my writing on my old blog Modern Culture Network on Facebook.

Also, check out my old content from when I was with Renew Newcastle including interviews with buskers and photos of Newcastle’s nightlife on the ‘Pump House Pro’ YouTube and Facebook.

Art by Nathan.

Any news, upcoming projects, or releases to share?

I intend on releasing my new science fiction novel ‘22 Century Man’ later this year or early next year. I will be seeking a traditional publisher for the book which is nearly finished. That process could take a while but you can look forward to ‘22nd Century Man’ soon.

I also have a short animated movie due for release later this year or early next year. The cartoon is called ‘UFO Abduction Dream: Journey to Ascobar’. I am working on this project with my visual arts mentor from Rely-Ability Taejin Lee.
I wrote the script for this one and drew all the concept art except the girl. I have also animated sections of the film and my mentor Taejin Lee is helping me animate the rest. I am excited to release ‘UFO Abduction Dream: Journey to Ascobar’ which is targeted at children. It will be a fun adventure for parents to enjoy with their children.
‘UFO Abduction Dream: Journey to Ascobar’ tells the story of a young woman who is abducted by aliens. After sucking her up into their ship, the aliens take her on an adventure across the galaxy to another world. There she meets an alien boy and the fun begins.

I will also release a new ‘Hadron C’ EP sometime next year. Several of the songs are already recorded and mixed. Some of the songs were produced by Australian rocker Ezekiel Ox from ‘Mammal’ who works for Rely-Ability and is one of my mentors.

The video for Nathan’s 2023 track ‘Renegade’ – Featuring Ezekiel Ox

Mental Health

We know you are out and proud regarding your neurodivergence and schizophrenia… And were wondering…
* Can you please outline your mental health symptoms and how they impact your day-to-day life?

When I am experiencing psychosis I have vivid visions and hallucinations. I see things that aren’t there.
I once had a vision of an Asian ninja spirit training martial arts. I have also had a vision of a futuristic city full of robots and flying cars.

I quite enjoy my visions and often wonder if I have a psychic ability. I am into mysticism and take the view that Hallucinations are an altered conscious experience that can hold interpreted value.

* What difference has the Australian government’s social services and financial support provided you – Such as through NDIS funding?

I am fortunate to receive the Disability Support Pension which I was put on about fifteen years ago when I was in the psychiatric ward. I frequently work whilst on the pension and report my earnings to Centrelink who deduct some of my allowance.
At the moment, I work one day a week for the NDIS service I attend Rely-Ability.

I’m grateful that I can receive a pension in this country because there have been times when I have been hearing voices or hallucinating when I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job. The pension gives me security so that I am not struggling to survive.

I believe in Universal Income for all Australians so that citizens’ basic survival needs are met. We have enough money in this country that people should have financial security.
I don’t believe that welfare makes people lazy. I am on welfare and I’m super productive and keep really busy.

My NDIS funding has absolutely transformed my life for the better, mainly because I can access Rely-Ability. Rely-Ability is supporting me to establish a career as an Artist and set up my creative business.

I hope that if things continue in this positive direction, I will gain financial independence through my creative business and I won’t need the pension anymore. My dream is to run my own production studio and have people working for me and Rely-Ability, and the NDIS are helping me reach that dream.

Art by Nathan.

* What was your life like before the NDIS?

Before the NDIS I had struggled with Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for many years. I have been to the psychiatric ward several times in my life as I have experienced psychosis. I was in the psych ward when I was put on the NDIS. It was there that I first met the owner of Rely-Ability, Michael Macokatic.
I was recommended to Rely-Ability because the staff at the ward knew I was interested in art and they knew that Rely-Ability could support me with creativity.

Because I am a funny bloke, I have struggled to connect with people in my life. The NDIS has helped me make friends and build connections with people I can trust.

Before I was on the NDIS, I was motivated to improve myself but I didn’t have the means to do it. I have been trying to start a creative business for fifteen years and have exerted a huge effort for what was an unachievable goal. With the NDIS, I can access the support I need to bring my dreams to reality.

Before the NDIS, I was already actively involved in the arts community but I didn’t have the support and access to equipment that I have now through Rely-Ability. At Rely-Ability I get to work with creative industry professionals who can help me with my projects.

It’s all about equity in my mind. I am coming from a bad place, but I want to do well and the state is supporting me to achieve.

I believe in government programs that help people do well in life. I want more programs that support Australians to achieve their dreams.

I also access my psychologist through the NDIS and that is highly important. Access to therapy is important in society as people struggle with this hard life.

Art by Nathan.

* What would you say to the leaders of Countries that don’t provide subsidized, government funded health services?

I would suggest to all governments that Health and Mental Health support helps the community function better. We want people in society to be supportive and lift each other up so that everyone can succeed in life. Welfare is also good because it removes crimes of desperation.

I am also big on rehabilitation programs for criminals. We should strive to help struggling and disadvantaged people live better lives so they don’t resort to crime or fall into that lifestyle. Health and social programs like Rely-Ability help people live better and that helps society function better in general.

Art by Nathan.

Odds & Ends

If you could live in any place, during any historical era – When and where would that be?
… and why would you choose that time and place?

I would live in prehistory, around 200 ‘000 to 500’ 000 years ago. I am fascinated by what that time in human history was like. Back then people were hunter-gatherers and they didn’t have any of the technology we have now. Life would have been hard and about survival.
Storytellers were highly valued members of the community in those days. They passed on knowledge and ideas from generation to generation. I often imagine there may have been lost civilisations from that time that we don’t know about. I imagine that for people back then the world was a mesmerizing mystery.
I am interested in ancient interpretations of life and science.

What are the top 3 items you own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?

My number one object is my laptop. My laptop allows me to write all the amazing stories that I want to share with the world.
My laptop also allows me to access all the knowledge and truth in the world on the internet.

My second item is my phone for many of the same reasons as my laptop. My phone allows me to take photos and videos of the world. In the past, my phone has helped me film music videos and podcast episodes. It allows me to save ideas for later and connects me to all the knowledge in the world on the internet.

Nathan’s laptop and mobile phone.

My third item is my pentagram necklace.
My pentagram represents my open-mindedness to magical ideas. I like to pretend that I believe in all sorts of mystical ideas like psychic powers and out-of-body experiences. I say that I am a Wizard and I have magical powers. I don’t know if any of it is real but I often wonder.
My pentagram represents my interest in mysticism. It also represents my worship of the natural world and the natural order of the Universe.

Nathan’s much loved pentagram necklace.

In a fight between the following iconic Australian characters: Blinky Bill (created by Dorothy Wall) Vs. The Bananas in Pyjamas (from the A.B.C television show) – Who would win?
…and why?

The Bananas in Pyjamas would probably win, firstly because I imagine they have had scruffs with each other when they argue so they have more experience fighting. Plus Blinky Bill is much smaller than the two of them and he’s always stoned on eucalyptus so he wouldn’t stand a chance.

Nathan’s depiction of the battle!

If you had to sum up your hometown of Newcastle, Australia in one object – What would it be?
Why did you choose it?
… and how does it represent Newcastle to you?

The object is a beam of steel. Newcastle is the Steel City.
Newcastle is hard and strong like a beam of steel. The people of Newcastle do not bend in their will. They’re strong and assert their desires for the city to the local politicians.
Newcastle also looks good like a shiny beam of polished steel, sparkling silver in the sunlight.

Please describe your last dream in detail…

I frequently have dreams about surviving a nuclear war which I predict. I have had hundreds of these dreams in my life. I had one of those dreams again last night…

The dream started with me standing on a hill in the desert at night. I was looking towards the horizon where I saw the lights of a nearby city. Suddenly, there was a white flash that engulfed my vision then I saw the yellow-orange mushroom cloud rising into the sky. As it climbed higher the cloud hit the atmosphere and began to spread outwards.
Then, suddenly, I found myself standing in a desolate ruined city. The buildings around me were rusted and decaying. Burnt-out cars littered the road and there were skeletons on the ground at my feet.
A little girl appeared in front of me. She was wearing a tattered cloak and had an old handbag slung over her shoulder. Her face was black with ash and she was missing teeth. She looked at me with a sad expression and said, “You’re the Wizard, you predicted this.”

Then, I woke up.

Art by Nathan.

What does God mean to you?

I believe in two understandings of God.
I consider that the universe might be a simulation created by higher beings as an experiment. I also consider that the Universe may be a living tissue and that consciousness may be a force that flows throughout the Universe like blood and animates it.

Neither of these understandings of God include a grand plan or any sort of fate or destiny and neither of these understandings of god offer any divine protection. If consciousness is a force in the universe then perhaps, when we die, our spirit returns to the collective spirit of the universe and in this way our soul is eternal.

Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?

I really want to be remembered for my vlog series which I have filmed over the last year. In the series, which now consists of nearly two hundred interviews, I discuss my philosophies, politics and general views on life in great detail. I also make numerous predictions about how I expect the future of humanity to unfold.

This series is a video legacy that I leave behind for future generations, so people know what I thought about life. The series gives me a great sense of closure about life.
I encourage more people to vlog their video legacy for the future.

People can listen to my Nathan Bell speaks series on my YouTube channel ‘Nathan Bell and the Revolutionaries’.

Art by Nathan.


All images supplied by Nathan or sourced online.