Arts4All Blog

Get to Know Nanette Wylde

Posted December 24th, 2018  |  By A4A.admin

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CSMA welcomes Nanette Wylde’s new exhibition On Longing and Other Stories through January 27 at Mohr Gallery, with an artist reception on Sunday, January 13 from 4pm-6pm.  Get to know Nanette Wylde as she discusses her background, inspiration and gives advice for aspiring artists.

Nanette Wylde

Give us a little background on yourself.  How did you get into art?

I’ve always been a reader and have been engaged in playing with words. I took a ceramics class as an undergrad and found making things to be satisfying. That ceramics instructor told me I needed to learn how to draw, so I took a drawing class. It was a combination of learning to draw and becoming aware of both history and our political world that instigated me to think about art as a container for creating meaning, and for processing information/experience/phenomena.

Did you have access to art education in school?

I did take art in high school, but I was not successful by any means. In fact, I recall damaging myself trying to make a belt buckle to a degree that I did not return to art class.

Tell us about a great art teacher that you had.

I studied painting with Rupert Garcia at San José State. He was great because he introduced me to the concept of juxtaposing diverse visual elements to create new meaning. He also encouraged experiencing and mining culture for content. These are practices that I continue to explore. Rupert was also a very nice person. I loved the way he talked about art. He always wore colorful shirts and socks which matched exactly.

How do you balance teaching art to others and creating art for yourself?

It is a challenge. I can’t say that I have found a balance. Responsibility to others tends to take precedence for me. I would like to be in the studio more, but more important than finding my own balance between teaching and making is the incredible gift of learning that teaching has given me. To feel like if one is teaching effectively one must understand the subject at hand beyond what they are giving the students, AND one must learn to listen to and be sensitive to others while honing their own communication skills. I don’t think I’ve quite mastered this yet.

What inspired you to create the pieces for this show?

The On Longing series is about global mass extinctions. I wanted to create work which both spoke to this devastating fact and celebrated the natural world. Positioning is about navigating thinking in uncertain times. It was conceived as an artist’s book and is being shown at CSMA as framed prints. In general, the book works are predominantly about juxtaposing image and image, or image and text as a means to talk about something more or less specifically. . .something that I was thinking about when I made them.

Your exhibition includes prints and handmade artist’s books.  Tell us more about how you like to use these mediums.

I very much enjoy the problem solving process of printmaking. It challenges, engages and rewards me on multiple levels. I really like ink on paper, and I especially like oil-based ink on fine art and handmade papers. These often result in unexpected and rich visual surprises that I enjoy looking at and pondering over, often as in “How do I fix this?” It follows easily that I would make books—being a reader, a writer and a juxtaposing image-maker. What I especially appreciate about artist’s books is the intimacy of the relationship between the audience and the artwork. To be fully experienced one must hold or touch them, one must give them time by reading/looking and interpreting. They are not generally quickly consumed.

Who are your favorite artists?

Probably too many to name here. As a student I was particularly inspired by Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Ann Hamilton, Laurie Anderson and Christine Tamblyn. They all work in different media, but what they have in common is that they entice us to pause, ask questions, and think—both deeply and metaphorically. I tend to be interested in artists who show me things I haven’t previously experienced or considered, or whose form of expression engages my attention for whatever reason, but often because their work excites my own imagination and sense of wonder.

What are the influences in your art?  Where do you find inspiration?

I think that much contemporary art is a response to one’s environment, whatever that may be. For myself, making is a way to tease out meaning from a wide range of experiences, interactions, and stimuli. Often my work is the result of something I am trying to figure out or worrying over. Currently this means issues of sustainability, species extinction, bio-diversity, social interactions and awareness, and identifying truth/reality.

You teach art at CSU, Chico and have previously taught at CSMA.  Any advice for older students who might be interested in taking an art class but aren’t sure where to start.

Try to let go of your inner critic and enjoy the process. Skill and the ability to develop rich content grow with continued making. Be an experiential consumer of our world: Look. Listen. Read. Explore. Examine. Think. Respond.

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