Featured Artist: Nancy Polo

Happy Spring to everyone! 

We're very excited Nancy Polo will join us with her Bunny paintings in April! Please join us for her reception on April 1st from 6-8. 

Nancy is an emerging artist who lives and works as a chef at Smithfield Farm in Berryville, VA. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area by parents who immigrated from Italy in 1962 and 1966. She has a BA from the College of William & Mary in Art History and an MA from UNC Chapel Hill in Art History. Her works have been shown at the bi-annual Art at the Mill show in Millwood, VA; A Show of Hands Gallery in Alexandria, VA; Dolcezza in Washington, DC; and her studio, La Capretta, has been included in the Clarke County Studio Tour.

"Bunny is a totem animal created to explore hidden desires and unusual perspectives on everyday farm life. Whether in the kitchen, at the easel or attempting to fly a kite, Bunny is always dreaming, and so am I." - Nancy Polo

We recently asked Nancy to answer some questions for us to gain further insight into her work and process...

What is your medium of choice? 
Watercolor or Acrylic Paints

Why have you chosen your current medium? 
My paintings are derived from very strong visions and fantasies. Painting is the most immediate way I can translate those visions for others to see.

Why do you feel art is important/relevant today? 
Artists shape dialogue in a complex and unbalanced world. They have the capacity for subtle discourse through images, sound and touch-­‐-­‐ which can be far more effective in filtering complicated reactions to that world. They can also act as a medium and a voice for people who cannot react or process for fear of retribution, or because of a lack of resources.

What has been the most difficult challenge for you as an artist? 
Finding a way to make painting relevant to contemporary culture & our collective socio-­‐economic landscape.

What's your typical day?
I help manage a farm and commercial kitchen as a day job. Paperwork, taxes, hiring, training staff, business planning and being a mom are what shape my days. Any spare moment I can, I spend drawing and painting. I would rather spend more time on artwork.

Is there anything you'd like the public to know about your work upon purchasing it? 
Cuteness is one of many tools I use to engage my viewers. Don’t accept it at face value. Bunnies and other familiar, cuddly animals are an excellent way to unpack heavy stuff that happens in the real, human world.

What is the most gratifying part of making your work? 
When someone gets the multi-­‐layered meaning behind the slick, trick that is a well-­‐crafted image.

Where do you find inspiration? 
Human beings are crazy good at hiding from reality. I like to hold up a mirror with humor and compassion.

What's your studio playlist? 
I have a subscription to Audible and I love nothing more than to lose myself in a good book while I paint. I get access to two very different parts of my brain. I also love to listen to Ludovico Einaudi, Blues, Sam Cooke, Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams.

Where is your studio? 
I have two: one with a garden for larger projects in warm weather. My favorite place to paint, however, is ten feet from my kitchen in my house. There’s always a meal to put together and a time limit.

How do you get yourself out of a creative rut? I listen to music or poetry.

Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears
the mind: 
 I am a voracious consumer of the Golden Age of TV. Girls, Easy, Love, Sensitive Skin, Game of Thrones, Halt & Catch Fire. I love all books by John Berger, Rebecca Solnit, Pablo Neruda and many, many other authors—I love books. I love Louis CK, Trevor Noah and Aziz Ansari. Well-­‐written comedy is the quickest way out of a depression.

Share your process: 
I love lucid dreaming, the kind that happens when you fall back asleep in the early hours of the morning. I solve a lot of my problems and dream big during that kind of sleep. If I’m lucky, some crazy idea for a painting emerges. I work through the visual logistics of it in my head during the day. This process can take weeks to months. I sketch on paper and then the painting surface. Then I fill it with color.

What's your dream project -­‐ if you had all the time and materials in the world? An interactive
Tea Time with Flora
illustrated guide to emerging as an adult. It would be a collaborative work with a comic writer. It would be performed and recorded as an audio and e-­‐book. You would buy it on one platform.

What artists influence your work -­‐ who are your creative idols? 
Frida Kahlo, Bernini, Michelangelo, Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Beatrix Potter, Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazaki, Cartoon Saloon, Nick Park and Aardman Animation… (the list is endless)

Describe yourself in 5 words:  Italian Girl with No Tribe

Describe your work in 5 words: Manic Pixie Dream Bunny World 

How do you find balance? I make things, sing, love and cook.

To learn more about Nancy and see more of her work visit: http://nancypolo.com