Nadja is a fine artist, fueled by her passion and imagination.
Having traveled for months at a time, her art is a rich visual diary of her life experiences.
If probed for a label, she'd call her art 'mystical realism'.
ABOUT NADJA MARKS - SHAFTON
As an artist, I'm constantly translating the way I see life into art.
I was born and raised in a beautiful fishing town south of Boston. My South African mother's work allowed our family to travel for 3 months at a time while my sister and I home-schooled ourselves with material our teachers prepared. Our family always chose the 'road less traveled', which made for interesting stories and extraordinary journeys. It was a time of splendid adventure, one that established a pattern of living that I've continued as an adult.
I can't separate my paintings from the inspiration of my travels.
My painting, 'Dumello Ma' is a portrait of one of the women I met while travelling in Botswana. She was accepted as a finalist in the British National Portrait Gallery in London.
My painting career was already underway by the time I was accepted into the BFA program at Florida State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. That's also where I got my start face & body painting with a professional children's entertainment company.
These days, I paint in my studio in Sarasota Fl, as well as travel for months at a time, painting on the go, a pattern established as a child.
Q. What mediums do you use and why?
A. Oil paint is my favorite, even though it is the most challenging. I love the feeling of the buttery paint flowing off my brush onto the canvas. Because it stays wet for over a day, I can work with it for longer. I also use watercolor for Ketubot and occasionally portraits, because of the soft, light layers I can build. Watercolor is also great for mystical subject matter.
Q. What inspires you?
A. Inspiration refers to taking in breath. I am tuned into inspiration nearly every minute I'm awake. It's become second nature or the way I think. Inhaling is to exhaling as inspiration is to creation. So much inspiration allows me to have a consistent flowing channel; I imagine it like a pipe.
Q. Why are you an artist?
A. My thoughts & feelings express themselves visually. When I'm deeply moved by a scene or fascinated by a texture, color combination, taste, mood, etc, I feel the familiar bubbling up of a vision for new painting. I know as soon as I see something/someone whether I want to paint them. I express my optimism, playfulness, passion & love in my paintings. When I paint, time stands still and I feel connected to the whole universe.
Q. How do you paint when you travel?
A. When I travel, I use gouache which is water-activated, transparent like watercolor but can also be opaque. I use a very limited palette (only 5 colors) and a couple watercolor pads.
When I travel for 3 months, I might bring oil paints, stretch canvas over a wooden board I buy there, prime it, paint on it, unstretch it, and then do it all again. That's how I painted 'The Meditation'
Q. Does each country you visit inspire you differently?
A. Yes, I am very sensitive to different locations, whether it be different houses, states, or countries. For example, when I paint in Africa, the grounded, natural passion brought out rich vibrant colors and energy in my paintings. When I painted in Canada, the paintings were more subtle.
Q. Do you ever run out of inspiration?
A. I haven't ever run out of inspiration but some days I don't have the energy to devote myself wholeheartedly to the process. When that happens, I take time off, even if that means a few weeks. I use this time to take a workshop, or collect inspiration. When I come back to my studio, I feel reenergized to share my new perspectives and insights to share.