Nan Carmack - Painter
Self-taught, I have been working more in watercolor and pastels in the past few years. Growing up with four siblings, I was the athletic one and my sister was the artist. Truly, she was--she earned a degree in Fine Arts from Sweet Briar College and I always admired her ability to think of something and then just do it. I had always been crafty, had a good eye, and a rabid knitter who took great liberties with color and design. When my sister became ill, I started trying other things, almost as an homage. When she died, I realized that just because my art didn't look like hers didn't mean it wasn't art. Funny, the stories we tell ourselves.
My work is usually inspired by natural world, as that is where I find joy, solace and fascination. My work is often more folkloric than otherwise. Rusticity and simplicity are probably the best descriptors of any of my work, from my ceramics to water color to fiber.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Never. It just sort of happened. My aspirations, I believe, came from watching and emulating my older sister.
How does your personal story/background influence your work?
My subject matter is informed by my surroundings, which are rural in nature. I live on a small working farm and my chickens and horses and dogs and gardens inspire much of my work.
Which of your works are you most proud of?
I love my Gothic Bacon, which was in response to a call to artists to depict their choice of Banned Books. This nods at Animal Farm, by George Orwell, if it wasn't obvious enough.
What is the hardest part about being a professional artist?
Well, I'm not. I am the director of a public library system. I can tell you that my sister, however, was a professional artist and selling herself and conducting the business of art was the hardest thing for her. I sometimes acted as her business go-between.