Friday, October 16, 2009

All Art Friday Special Edition: Artist Interview

This week's All Art Friday is an interview with silk painter Nuch Owen of Naples, Florida. Nuch (pronounced "Nuht") is a graduate of Poh-Chang College of Arts and Crafts in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nuch's paintings on silk — often, lush flora-filled still lifes — have won awards at the Art League of Bonita Springs and the Ft. Myers (Fla.) Alliance of the Arts. In September 2008, Nuch was the subject of a feature article, "Painter Nuch Owen Turns Silk Into Artwork That Celebrates Pyrotechnic Life of Nature in Bloom", by Harriet Howard Heithaus of the local Naples News. In 2009, Nuch was awarded the Art League's Ione Anderson Memorial Award, honoring the past Art League member.

Nuch and I "met" over the Internet, through her husband Andy, after one of my sisters recommended her work to me. I subsequently licensed Nuch's image "Koi" in late 2007 and currently offer through my company Transformational Threads a limited edition of custom "thread paintings" based on that image. Nuch and I conducted our interview by e-mail.

An All Art Friday Special Edition
Interview with Artist Nuch Owen

Maureen DoallasYou are from Thailand. How did your life in Thailand influence the artist you've become?

Nuch Owen: Many members of my family have great artistic skills. They, along with wonderful teachers, inspired me.

MDWhen did you first know or decide that you wanted to be a professional artist?

NO: I was surrounded by creative people while growing up. To follow the arts was natural for me.

MDYour background includes expertise in fabric design and, in Bangkok, you worked five years as a textile designer. Tell us a bit about your experience as a designer of men's clothing that sold throughout Southeast Asia.

NO: As a designer, I was able to see a great variety of current trends in design and techniques. I also was able to travel to Hong Kong and Singapore and check out what was going on in contemporary design.

MDYou currently live with your husband, an artist and arts instructor, in Naples, Florida, and you have your own silk painting studio, Pink Diamond Design. How did you come to settle in Naples?

NO: My husband's family is in this area. It's tropical and feels like home.

MDDid painting on silk naturally grow out of your work as a textile designer?

NO: I worked with silk as a student and fell in love with it. Years later, I have returned to this medium.

MDHow would you characterize your style?

NO: Tropical and floral design. I use these motifs as a vehicle to play with color.

MDWhat are your sources of reference and inspiration?

NO: My garden.

MDWhat preparations do you take before beginning a silk painting?

NO: I do a series of preliminary sketches. My sketchbook is filled with ideas.

MDWhat are the challenges of painting on silk?

NO: It's a one-shot deal. I have to get it right, because I cannot erase anything or cover it up.

MD: How long does it usually take for you to complete a painting on silk?

NO: [The time varies,] from three days to three weeks.

MDDo you favor other materials than Habotai silk, and are you experimenting with other types of materials?

NO: I have found the Habotai silk to be the best for my techniques.

MDDo you share your artistic skills by teaching classes or workshops in silk painting?

NO: No. I have no teaching experience, and I prefer to work on my own.

MD:  Do you accept commissions and, if you do, what do you view as the pros and cons of commissions?

NO: Yes. Commissions are always considered. They are fine to do so long as we are all on the same page.

MDHow do you market yourself as an artist?

NO: [I'm] still working on that. I have a Website and enter as many juried shows as possible.

MDDo you use FaceBook or other social media to publicize your art, gallery exhibitions, or the like?

NO: No.

MDDo you have gallery representation? Any exhibitions forthcoming?

NO: My work is represented by Jungle Drums Gallery on Captiva Island [in Florida].

MDWhat is the price range of your art?

NO: [My pieces are priced from] $350 [to] $1,800.

MDWhat would you describe as your "lucky break" as an artist?

NO: I was hired as a designer straight out of school. This was a great start.

Thank you, Nuch. I appreciate the time you gave for our interview.

A number of "Koi" thread paintings are still available.  A popular image, the hand-embroidered re-creation, crafted exclusively for Transformational Threads by Vietnamese artisans, may be purchased directly from Transformational Threads. For details, click here.

Copyright 2009 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.

No comments: