I live, work, and thrive in NOLA. I am a mixed media artist drawn to Louisiana subject matter, from alligators to angels. When people see my work, I want them to feel the love and prayers that I have attached to the paintings.
I paint because I see a picture in my mind, triggered by something I see or a song that I hear, and I want to bring it into reality. One of my goals is to keep New Orleans in the forefront of people’s vision. I start each painting with prayers for the city, often extending to all sentient beings. I want whoever sees my paintings to feel these prayers. I want my paintings to speak to the viewer’s heart.
When I painted “Ascension”, I was at mass at St. Stephen’s and saw a dove, representing the Holy Spirit, above the crucifix. I thought of a brown pelican, our state bird, ascending from a cross, to represent NOLA rising from the destruction and corruption following Hurricane Katrina. While I was painting the pelican, I thought of crawfish angels taking the pelican skyward. The halo around the pelican’s head was made from Mardi Gras beads dried in gel and roughly removed, leaving a crusty, seascape look. The three fish, which could have been 3 of anything, represent the Holy Trinity.
One of my pieces is called “Feathered Friends”. It represents a community project involving building and improving parks and community gardens in New Orleans. The painting represents divine guidance and our relationship with living things.
When I was teaching in California, I attended a painting workshop presented by Shiloh McCloud. In the course of the weekend, Shiloh instructed us to write down our vision of the future. I decided at that time to retire from California in three years and move with my family to New Orleans and paint full time.
Nancy Wolfe Kimberly is a New Orleans artist living and working in the East Carrollton neighborhood.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words
Vibrant, Whimsical, Sincere.
Describe yourself in one word
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I think I can only make the art I want in New Orleans. Even when I was living in California, I was painting alligators and angels. The old buildings, the grit, the people, the music, and religious symbols influence my work. Once at St. Stephen’s I saw a dove representing the holy spirit and thought of painting a pelican ascending to heaven.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I talk to the muses. I put a few layers of paint down while I think about the composition. I light a candle and set my intentions for the painting. I pray for the people of New Orleans. I pray for women. I pray for all sentient beings.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Usually, I know what I am going to paint next. Something just pops into my head. Walking around the French Quarter, going to a festival, and meeting new people all jar something in my brain.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Shiloh Sophia is one of my wonderful art teachers. She is an authentic, prayerful, risk-taker. I am also drawn to the art work of Frida Kahlo, George Rodrigue, and Van Gogh.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Fats Domino’s "Walking to New Orleans".
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
You can find me hanging out with my friends and family and doing the things that are necessary so I can get back to making art.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Morning, Monday, Summer. I like a fresh start and a hot day.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I spent 5 weeks in India and Arabia.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
2317 General Pershing Street, New Orleans, LA (by appointment)
Zèle Artist Market - 2841 Magazine Street