THE ARTIST ~ Nancy Villere
Compelled by art for most of her life, Nancy Villere of Villere Design has taken her prowess in professional photography to a place of transcendence with her most recent collection of paintings. Her expertise in capturing the female form with a flash has allowed this artist to acutely depict deeply personal renderings of the woman’s body in her debut compilation of Figurative paintings.
This collection of paintings, along with her Graffiti Art, Still Life, Dessert and Abstract collections, has been primarily composed during her diagnosis and recovery of breast cancer. Villere refers to her cancer diagnosis as the “divine intervention that had me stop my world for a minute to let these paintings out.” The artist’s personal connection to this particular body of work is a true testament to her devotion to art in every genre as one of the most powerful forms of self-expression and human exploration.
“These figures come out of me very organically. I’ve become a conduit for painting the female form, which is so beautiful, and there are so many ways to express it. I never tire of finding and exploring the beauty in a woman’s shape, whether it’s through painting or photography.” ~ Nancy Villere of Villere Design
A free-spirited, Southern California native with an admirable appreciation for life, Villere has spent much of her successful career focused on capturing inner and outer beauty by providing professional boudoir and commercial photography services through her company Crush Photo Studios. She also shoots magazine covers and fashion editorial spreads for local and national publications, gaining an innate ability to depict the unexpected beauty in each and every subject that comes through her studio. Translating these often-therapeutic experiences from one medium to the next seemed serendipitous and natural to this passionate artist.
“I’ve had so many years of looking at light through a lens, understanding that if you can identify and portray light, you can give shape to anything.” ~ Nancy Villere of Villere Design
Her instinctual technique for using light and shadow to create three-dimensional images has allowed Villere’s aesthetic to thrive and mature throughout her 20-year journey as a painter and photographer. During a brief residence at an underground photography studio in Laguna Canyon back in the ‘90s, Villere found herself being asked to enroll at the Laguna College of Art + Design where she studied fine arts, gained experience in art documentation by combining her expertise in photography with her new found passion for painting and equipped herself with the fundamentals for translating her brilliant photographs into drawings, paintings and sculptures. “The universe delivered,” Villere said of her experience at LCAD. But, perpetually inspired to deviate from her coursework’s focus on classic realism, Villere’s talent truly flourished when she allowed her approach to come from a more experiential and personal place.
“I can’t have a pre-conceived idea when I sit down to paint. I do a mini meditation where I ask the painting what it wants to be. I close my eyes and imagine the colors taking form in the palette I feel I want to express. Sometimes I can’t complete the process in one session, so I’ll do different canvases for each inspiration, layering until each piece is whole, complete and perfect.” ~ Nancy Villere of Villere Design
As an artist, Villere constantly challenges herself to use non-traditional elements and mediums to allow them to perform beyond their intended use, appreciating their diverse reactions on the canvas. She paints with acrylics, pastels, oil, charcoal and spray paint, but she also mixes in materials like alcohol, wood stain, tape and chemicals to create applications, which result in her moving, avant-garde art pieces. The artist’s intention is for her audience to feel or experience a connection to her pieces in some way.
INSIDE THE STUDIO
The artist’s first piece, she recollects, was a rendering of an old photograph of her mother who, Villere says, resembled Jackie O in her dress and red pillbox cap with a cat set atop her shoulder. “She looked like a movie star, so I painted her,” Villere said. It is this intrinsic ability to see, capture and document the beauty in anyone and anything that allows this artist to so flawlessly illustrate everyday objects and shapes in new and engaging ways.
Villere’s aspiration to reach a “Zen” level of physical self-acceptance may be at the root of attribution for her unique talent. She explained that she’s always sought that empowerment to truly cherish the way she’s looked; and, with these paintings, she has allowed herself to accept and admire her changing body post-surgery. Her new collections have provided a gateway to fulfillment for this artist.
“There’s no better thing than when you feel whole, complete and perfect. It is such a sweet space to exist in, and when I’m painting, that is what’s present. I want to share that with everyone through my paintings.”~ Nancy Villere of Villere Design
Which is why Villere’s interpretations are often surprising in a real yet mystical way. She references the great American painter Wayne Thiebaud as a source of inspiration. It is his colorful depictions of commonplace objects that influence Villere to let the paint create her stunning shapes and figures in much the same way.
Invariably experimenting with a variety of mediums and formats, Villere has truly begun to revel in playing with new painting techniques which can be seen in five, new categorical collections, including Figurative, Graffiti Art, Dessert, Abstracts, and Still Life. Her artwork can be viewed and purchased at her Southern California studio.