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Artist Interview: Nancy Macko

Artist Interview: Nancy Macko

Nancy Macko, Still #08, Lore of the Bee Priestess, 2004, digital video, 13:43 min. Image courtesy of the artist.

Emily Waldorf / ArtsEtoile

October 01, 2009

In this in-depth interview, noted multimedia artist and professor Nancy Macko talks to Emily Waldorf about her ongoing HIVE Universe project and current group show, “Gaia and Global Warming: Women Artists Champion Nature,” at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole. Ms. Macko also touches on eco-feminism, how she balances teaching and creating, working on Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and her study of ancient matriarchal cultures.

EW: How did you get started as an artist?

NM: When I was in high school one of the art teachers noticed my work and displayed it. It wasn’t much to speak of, it was good from a design perspective, but that interest was enough for me to begin exploring my inner world. It took years of study in several colleges before I felt ready for the commitment that graduate school represented. Once that process began, I knew that I was on the path that was right for me….practicing art and teaching. I credit my studio art professors in those undergraduate school programs with helping me focus and get on course. HT05w

EW: You work with video installation, traditional and digital prints, and mixed media on wood panel to create a unique visual language. How did the various mediums that you use evolve over time?

NM: My concentration in graduate school at UC Berkeley was painting and printmaking. I worked mostly on paper and studied monoprinting with Sylvia Lark. Working in mixed-media on paper was a real draw for me. When I began to teach at Scripps College in the late eighties, it was to teach drawing and printmaking. Because of the connection between graphics and printmaking, I was invited to create a “computer graphics” program, which I started in 1990 and continue to direct. This was my first foray into working digitally and I loved it. I started to use Photoshop as soon as it came on the market in the early 90’s and have incorporated it into my work since then. My first major mixed media piece, The Honeycomb Wall, 1993-4, incorporated traditional printmaking with collage, sculpture and layered digital images that were printed as cibachrome photographs. These were affixed to hexagonally-shaped wood panels. The piece was comprised of almost 100 panels and installed to create the effect of a honeycomb.

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