How did you get started doing what you do?
My passion for making things started High School. I applied to a video media program and studied there for two years before graduating. In college, my studies ran the gamut from feminist theory, film, poetry, psychology, art making, and art education. These explorations fed me and informed me. But it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014 that I started really doing what I do. It threw a match on a fire somewhere in me. And what started as a means of coping quickly turned into a new way of living.
How would you describe your creative style?
My style includes different mediums, subject matters, and techniques. I work in assemblage, portraiture, painting, collage, textile, drawing, and word art. It is often personal and political.
What’s your inspiration?
I am inspired by words and our relationship with them. I’m also really into women’s history, art history, and advertisements from the 1920’s-1960’s. My work is often driven by emotions, memories, people, and places. Real and imagined.
What is art to you?
Art is the materialization of an internal process. It is a little like magic.
What does your typical day look like?
I work one on one with students at a therapeutic school during the day. When I get home I walk the dog, catch up with my husband, practice qigong, and spend a few hours in my studio.
How do you keep motivated?
I work with misfits. I experiment with different mediums. I check out other people’s work, watch videos of studio visits, documentaries, read interviews, and listen to music.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I hope to start a dialogue, contribute to women’s art history, and inspire others to express themselves.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Empathy is your gift, not your curse. And you’re going to grow up to be the weird art teacher.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
You’re the only one in the room who can tell the story the way only you would
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Share your work. Respond to call to artist listings. Connect with local makers. Reach out to your favorite artists. Apply for that thing. Give yourself a break. Go to the opening. Do something that scares the shit out of you. And don’t forget to keep playing.
What art supplies do you use?
I use thread, watercolor paint, ink, fabric, paper, film, pencil, wood, pens, vintage magazines, acrylic paint, canvas, video, found objects, gesso, scissors, and a typewriter.
What’s your process like?
It always starts with music. If I am painting one of my heroines I will soak up as much information about the person as possible before I begin drawing and painting. Much of my collage work is an alchemy of watercolor and ink. There is a playful urgency to this work that I enjoy, and it almost always involves me cutting the tiniest woman out of the smallest ad. I’ll edit my paintings by cutting them into irregular shapes, adding layers of paint, or paper to get the right feel. Trust and play are key parts of my process.
You can follow Nina Dubois on Twitter @nina__dubois.
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