Art and entertainment are all around us and practically everyone enjoys the experience of smiling at a comic or emotionally connecting with a piece of art or the characters in a film. Some people have managed to earn global recognition for their artistic abilities yet there are many more talented artists in the world who are little appreciated despite their awe-inspiring abilities. Noting the lack of outlets for up-and-coming, underground, or outside artists to showcase their work, I decided to start an “Artist Spotlight” series where I will interview various artists in order to gain a deeper insight into what inspires their creativity and what they plan to do with their careers.
Nadia DeLane is a New York based author and artist who agreed to be interviewed for this series. Her colorful collages and paintings represent the bright colors and bold shapes that serve as her main inspiration. Nadia has also worked as a Production Manager for short films such as one titled “Love and Shoes” which is featured on her website. Recently, Nadia agreed to answer some questions about her experiences as an artist:
Q: What influenced you to become a visual storyteller?
I love books and I make things with my hands. As a kid, I wouldn’t really sit around and ask if what I made was art I just always made things with whatever I had around. By the time I got to graduate school, I was no longer satisfied with “art as hobby.” A colleague of mine discovered my sketch book and pushed for me to create marketing materials for the novel conference that year. They put my design on tote bags and programs I exhibited a lot around campus and the President’s office. After graduation, I knew that I needed to paint but the usual tales of artistic impossibility rang in my ears. I was afraid of failure.
About four years ago, I hit rock bottom creatively. I needed a jolt and was attracted to the fashion industry for all of the passionate souls there. I worked as a styling assistant for a few years. Painting shoes at midnight during Fashion Week was a highlight but my stories burned me up inside. I’d watch the models walk out onto the runway and think up story concepts. No daydreaming during Fashion Week!
It also helped that my parents are visual storytellers. I have memories of my mother’s photo collages on wood. She’d create typography with uncooked rice. Actually, our favorite toys were made out of rice and old socks. My father edited home movies and built doll houses from scratch with working light switches. On Friday nights we’d act out scenes with action figures. Don’t laugh. Most of the stories had embedded lessons. If Spiderman got ran over by a model car, it was because he wandered too far away from the sidewalk. Don't play in traffic.
Q: In terms of subject matter, what is your work about and what inspired the ideas for them?
Much of my work is about the realities of womanhood. I'm inspired by personal narrative. I reside somewhere between tragedy and comedy. Sometimes my work contains psychological horror. I derive a lot of inspiration from black literature and stories that sting to tell. Toni Morrison inspires me. My emotionally intelligent friends inspire me. I’m inspired by embarrassment because it’s relatable. We’ve all been there. When I paint, my subjects are women of color living through various everyday experiences, trials and victories. I use paper to grapple with the consequences of activity. Will she fall?
Q: As far as working in illustration and film, what has been your most rewarding experience so far?
I think my most rewarding experience was the day I looked in the mirror and named what I was doing by calling myself an artist. When I work with ink, cut a piece of paper for collage or pick up my laptop to write, I’m in a good place. I’ve collaborated with Virna Acosta on her film projects and I had a very special opportunity to work with my brother Rick Fouche. He is a brilliant artist and musician. At work, I write a lot about the accomplishments of SVA alumni. I write about achievement. That’s very rewarding for me. I’d say that I’ve had too many good days to count working with the Visual Narrative cohort. I’m amazed by our ability to collaborate so well with one another and then go home and produce beautiful work separately. I think that respect makes it work. There are different minds, styles and approaches. Still, everyone is recognized. I’d call it magic but it’s really just a lot of hard work. It’s magic too.
Q: What are your ultimate goals for the future?
My goal is to continue doing what I'm doing. I want to show in galleries, publish stories, have awesome conversations and collaborate with bold artists. I love it when children relate to my work. Part of my mission is to fill homes with color.
Q: Are there any up and coming projects that you would like to mention?
I don’t like to talk about it until it’s done but I have a lot of unfinished business. I’m working on my thesis pretty heavy right now. This story will require a more in depth understanding of dairy products and spiritual connection. I’ve got my work cut out for me but I’m excited about what I will learn along the way. I see animation in my future. Right now, I have some work on view at Spacewomb gallery. The three pieces there are part of a womanhood series called “Mine Over Matter”. It’s about owning your identity. Our lives are not just linear and too many of us feel pressured to pre-package for acceptance. These ideas inspire that series. I'm also working on a book of short stories.
Q: Where do you hope to be, career wise, in ten years?
In ten years I’ll be with my family on a beach somewhere. They’ll hate me for bringing work on vacation but art never sleeps. I’ll have my laptop (or some other futuristic device) so I can work on illustrating my book in the morning and script writing at night. That sounds pretty good.
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To learn more about Nadia’s artwork visit her official website: