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.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“WOW!!! Your work is fresh, invigorating & new! They are original, awesome, innocent unique, inspiring, so varied in technique, exploration & observation! Deep, enthralling,...gosh!! I keep thinking of all these adjectives rather than just wonderful or amazing & beautiful...which are all the obvious ones!!
"Your art is the most beautiful I've ever had the pleasure to experience, there is a uniquely vibrant purity of expression to it that I've never seen in art before."
"Nadja Marks-Shafton's works are captured through the process of revisiting distant memories. Instead of focusing specifically on what she remembers, she makes a point of painting how she remembers. Stand in front of these large canvases and you will know what she means. The colors, quality of her marks, impasto of her paint, and seductive layering of imagery will likely trigger memories of your own."
Anne, ART PROFESSOR
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.