Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thank you, Palo Alto

Great Expectations
This year I have already done quite a bit of traveling: to Sydney twice, and a goodly trip to Spain. Lots of inspiring art and wonderful people in both places. On top of it all, we moved to Seattle in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Here our home has a huge view of Puget Sound and my studio, which is as yet only half unpacked, is roomy and cozy at the same time. Perfect for me, conflicted artist that I am.

I already love being here, but before I launch into this new life, I want to give a farewell nod to Palo Alto, where I lived for over a decade, helping to raise two fine boys, deepening a loving teamwork with my dear husband and... finding increasing satisfaction with art as career and passion. Just a few of my activities there included three years of interesting hard work on the Palo Alto Public Art Commission (even honored by being elected Chair just prior to our deciding to move away), being a gallery partner, being a founding art photographer of an excellent group that offers workshops and Meetups, being a member of two collective galleries, exhibiting in numerous solo and collective shows in galleries and corporate offices, belonging to WCA and establishing a going business in selling my limited editions. I must admit, though, one of my favorite memories of creating/showing art in Palo Alto was my garage door street art that caused more than a dozen spontaneous visits by neighbors and strangers alike to dialogue about it. (Now that's what art should do.)

Pi Door

Thank you, Palo Alto. It was a good life. I have so many good memories of my time there.

As a thank you, I have left behind with the new Public Art Commission Chair, Dr. Ally Richter (an accomplished artist herself), a gift I would like to donate for the city's art collection: one of my seminal pieces, Great Expectations.

This blog post is a message to the remaining art commissioners (Hi, everybody!) by way of explanation, as they must vote collectively whether to accept the gift or not. Voila the explanation:
Great Expectations is one of the few pieces I consider a turning point in my art process and portfolio. While art has been an integral part of my life about as long as I can remember, it was in Palo Alto creating Great Expectations, Call of The WildHole In The Soul, Left & Right and a few others, that I really found my way of expressing concepts through a technique mixing photography,  Photoshop and SketchBook Pro, focusing on organic materials and unexpected composition as a means for that expression.

As to the meaning of Great Expectations itself, I'd like to hear what it means to you instead of pontificating. The first time I showed this publicly, I was closely touched by listening to the comments from a few viewers, one in particular who saw it as a visual treatise on his recent difficult years. I will never forget that evening, listening to him talk emotionally about it; I will never forget how really listening to others about what resonates with them gives me meaning no matter what my original intentions (or personal drive) to create the art in the first place. It's a good lesson for all of us and one that I daresay, I learned repeatedly as a Public Art Commissioner...and hope that you, Commissioners, and I, as a continuing private artist, will apply whenever we can.

So, Commissioners, if you are reading this, please accept my gratitude for the eye-opening experiences of working with you on the Public Art Commission, and for your patience with me as I fumbled through. It was one of the best things I will remember about Palo Alto.  : )

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At 10:23 PM , Anonymous Larisa Usich said...

The City of Palo Alto and the Commission have you to thank, Nancy! What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing these thoughts. It was really a pleasure working with you on the Art Commission. Somehow I still can't quite believe you are gone... at this point feels like you're just on a trip abroad! I will miss working on projects with you and our Mayfield breakfast marketing meetings. I'm glad that our paths have crossed. Best wishes to you in Seattle and keep in touch! Larisa


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