Nancy Josephson

Born in New York City in 1955, I have spent much of my life mining whimsical, beautiful and often controversial subjects. As an artist, author and musician, I’ve been traversing the worlds of both spirit and mundane. As a visual artist using sequins, beads and found objects I try to fill empty space with beautiful expressions of these two worlds.

I adore materials, playing with them, making them work hard and showing me how far I can push before they push back. Building with color, pattern, form, and substrates, all while communing with spiritual energies and entities, keep me searching through my artistic celestial garden!

I started in music. I only wanted to do ‘real’ music - rootsy, soulful and elemental. I wanted to get to the core of what music is, in the way it lifts the spirit from the inside. Music took me on the road.

I went ‘off road’ to search for the ‘yard shows’ done by artists who would never think of themselves as ‘Artists’. The art was so much a part of them that they just couldn’t contain it. They WERE art, and they were everywhere; in roadside shrines commemorating a loved one’s passing, in hand painted signs that warned of our ultimate destination as Hell if we didn’t follow the rules, in the singular vision of a woman who knows how to make a pie that’ll make you weep.

Then I started using my hands instead of my voice. Visual art gave me a more solitary way to explore how to surround myself in physical beauty and meaning. Trial and Error was my alma mater. I played with all sorts of materials while creating shrines big and small. I ‘did’ cars (embellishing 9 over the years), cremation urns, taxidermy animal forms, etc.

For the last 24 years I have traveled to Haiti every year to study and work with artists and spiritual mentors. Much of the art work I was doing previous to my introduction to Haiti’s arts and culture had an extraordinary link to this challenging place. Once I made my first trip, I was overwhelmed with what I learned. So many thoughts about physical home, one’s spiritual ‘home’, how one ‘gets by’, what one must risk during the creative process, and what IS the creative process shifted.

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