While I was on the east coast last week I took time to visit a woman I have been wanting to meet in person for quite a long time. I told you about her in my ‘Artists I love’ series. She is Nina Levy, a fantastic sculptor and a fellow napkin draw-er on-er. I had planned to visit her last year when I spoke at the 2012 NY Blog World Conference but wasn’t able to find the time.
I drove to Nina’s from my sister’s house on Long Island on my way down to Virginia. It was the first time I had driven in NYC in decades. It was a breeze. I shouldn’t have been doing this while driving but I couldn’t help myself.
Nina lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn with her husband, who is a professional fine wood craftsman, and their 2 sons.
The Napkin Mom
As I came in the gate I saw Nina’s famous cargo bike by which she transports her sons all over NYC.
They are getting bigger now and going over the bridges to Manhattan from Brooklyn isn’t as easy as it once was. Here is a napkin drawing she did of her doing that exact thing in the middle of winter.
Once inside we hung out in her loft home and talked ‘napkins’. We use the same markers for the most part and compared notes on those and paper types other than napkins. We both were in agreement that while most people don’t like the idea of how absorbent napkin paper is for markers, we are very used to it and we actually find typical paper harder to work on.
As you can tell, Nina has a beautiful and expressive face. It was great to meet her in person just to enjoy that animated aspect of her personality.
In addition to the usual superhero drawings she does for her sons, she also does portraits of them.
Here is a napkin drawing her her Ansel, her youngest.
And here is a portrait of Archer, her oldest.
After we were done talking napkins, we went downstairs to her sculpture studio. I feel a strong connection to Nina in part because she has a split art personality, just like I do. She does her napkins and she does her sculpture, just as I do my napkins and my photo-collages.
Her most recent piece is this mother and child. Note the HUGE heads in the background and hanging from the ceiling. She quite often works large in a variety of materials. Each one is painstakingly molded and painted. It takes months and months to do a piece like you see here.
I love this photo of her and her piece and it inspired me to make my napkin drawing later that night.
She has lately been doing small 3D studies of figures and creatures, one a day is her goal. They are in part an extension of the napkin work she does for her sons (mostly super heroes they happen to like) and part small scale experimentation in figurative work related to her larger work.
Here are a few more shots of Nina’s studio and her work.
I love this sculpture of a woman with ‘man hands’. I almost captured Nina in the background in the same position. I also like the hanging figure in the background quite a bit.
One of my bucket list items is to one day have a two person exhibition with Nina of our napkins. I will let you know if it comes to fruition!
If you would like to see more of her Napkin work you can do so at my first blog post about her
and at her blog – http://ninaslevy.blogspot.com/
She recently was in a group show at BOSI Contemporary in NYC. Here are a few articles about the show.
You can read and see more of my trip to the East Coast here: