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Meet Nanybel Salazar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nanybel Salazar.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, I started taking piano lessons and painting with watercolors and oils with my beloved grandmother’s guidance at the age of 5. I drew my first self-portrait with a regular pencil at 10 and fell in love with portraiture.

I started studying Architecture in Caracas at 17, then got married at 19 and moved to Paris, France, where I learned the French language, studied Architecture of Interiors and had my first baby.

Before Pope John Paul II toured Venezuela for the first time, I was commissioned to do 4 portraits of him and one was chosen as the official image to promote his visit in the city of Maracaibo, and to decorate the streets and the stage where he gave his speech. The image of that portrait was also used to make bookmarks and lithographs that were sold as souvenirs.

Back in Caracas and while enduring a painful divorce, my Dad trained me to work as his business and personal Administrator. Then with my parents’ support I opened my first direct sales company and became the exclusive distributor of a unique arts and crafts line of products imported from the US.

My business launched me into the national spotlights hosting my own live educational segment in a weekly television show, and got me running 2 offices, managing 11 employees and up to 200 instructors nationwide and raising my 2 wonderful and active boys all at once!

After moving to the United States in 1996 with my sons to be closer to our loving family, I started drawing again and quickly earned a reputation for my realistic Portrait style and won several awards at fine art drawing competitions.

I moved once again with my husband of 3 years and my younger son to the United Arab Emirates in 2000 and joined the Abu Dhabi Cultural Arts Center open studio.

One day a Sheikha (royalty member) spotted an unfinished portrait painting of Sheikh Zayed, the ruler and king of the UAE that I had left in the studio. She contacted me and asked me to teach her private drawing lessons at her palace. She was a wonderful student, became one of my biggest fans and a very sweet friend. She opened a high-end Art Gallery and my Portraits were the first hanging on its walls.

I returned to Georgia in 2002. I finally joined several art societies in 2011 and added bold floral paintings to my portfolio, after doing commissioned portraits and giving private drawing lessons intermittently.

Throughout my life, I have visited and lived both in Heaven and in Hell and have experienced from very happy to extremely painful times. Many years of studying and searching had me understanding how people interact and discovering tons of myths and taboos that lead to heartbreaks, breakups and divorces.

After finding happiness within I also launched “Nanybel, UNEDITED!” and have been on a mission to create awareness. I enjoy tremendously assisting men and women with moving forward very fast and effectively to new, healthier and happy relationships with themselves and with a potential or existing love partner and witnessing their life transformation.

Please tell us about your art.
I create timeless memories. Memories that can otherwise easily be lost as technology advances. Many people nowadays take snapshots with their smart phones and do not realize that those precious images of their fast-growing kids and pets, their love partners and their aging parents can disappear in an instant. I wonder if they also realize that phone cameras produce low resolution images that are not even printable.

I do realistic Portraiture Paintings, usually by commission, based on photographs of the subject(s) which I take whenever possible. My procedures are very convenient for busy people.

I also create and offer “Gallery Portraits” and bold flower paintings that I usually submit at juried competitions and then exhibit.

Pastel is my medium of choice and absolute favorite, and I am excited to explain and clarify what it is truly about!

Pastel does not refer to pale colors at all and it has nothing in common with chalk or color pencils. It is the same pure pigment used in making all fine art paints and the longest-lasting of all media when it is applied to an acid-free surface and it is framed properly.

Unlike oil and water-based media that darken, fade or crack overtime, Pastel is ground pigment mixed with just enough gum binder to make a paste that is rolled into sticks.

I started playing with Pastels in the late 90’s when a loved one gifted me with a box of “Rembrandt” brand sticks. Because I was not restricted by specific, “proper” methods of application, the possibilities seemed infinite.

At first, I applied just a hint of color over my Charcoal portraits. I was afraid of using too much color. As I played with them my work became more and more colorful and bolder. I acquired several hundred Pastel sticks and pencils over the years from new, different makers and created my own techniques. Now I cannot have enough Pastels.

The first time I attended a Southeastern Pastel Society meeting over 7 years ago, I learned that some of the methods I use, like blending with my bare finger the colors applied on the surface I’m painting, were a no-no according to the books. A loud “OOPS!” escaped from my mouth.

Standing before such talented and renowned group of fellow artists 2 months later felt very intimidating. I expressed it and then declared that I was a Pastel sinner and a rule breaker. I wish I had recorded the attendees’ reactions: some looked very excited, a few laughed out loud, some moved nervously on their chairs and stared at me as if I were from another Planet. But most of them enjoyed so much learning about my “sinful” techniques and fun stories that they didn’t want that meeting to end.

I treat my work with most respect and love and use the best Pastels and Charcoal on acid-free, archival and museum quality materials. I stay away from drama and focus on beauty when I paint, and I rejoice when my clients and all the viewers feel it.

Each piece that I create is mindfully made to last many centuries, to contribute to the remembrance of beloved people and pets and to brighten someone’s day.

Even though portraiture and classical art have been pushed away by modern galleries and museums and have been dismissed by some critics that mashed the standards to the ground, I like to believe that my work can somehow create awareness and keep traditional portraiture alive although my style is more contemporary because I love capturing real, spontaneous and candid expressions, and rejoice in painting smiley faces and teeth!

Fine Arts transcend us, tell stories, help us understand our ancestors and ancient civilizations, contribute to lift our spirits and to embellish our World.

I encourage everybody to go visit a local museum with high standards of excellence, an ancient cathedral, a historic site and to ask questions. There is so much to learn from those who aimed to deliver exquisite, outstanding, high quality work; from those who devoted their entire lives to create masterpieces for the World to enjoy throughout the millennia.

I could not imagine myself living without inspiring, beautiful, tasteful, uplifting art.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
Success is very subjective and it means different things to different people. As an artist, I define success as the amount of joy and satisfaction that I feel after signing a work of art that I know my clients will love and/or that earns the recognition that a work well done deserves. Perseverance and patience are also keys to success.

Obviously, to be financially successful, Artists must produce works of art regularly, study the masters, improve their skills and aim for excellent craftsmanship. Finding their niche and being consistent are essential to stand out. Knowing how to market their work to their ideal clients or having professional representation is paramount.

I did not pursue Art as a full-time career because I grew up believing that Artists starved and that only a few would ever make it while still being alive; so, I treated art like a precious hobby most of my life.

I imagine where I would be as an Artist today should I had known better!

It is never too late to pursue Art as a career as long as one has life to live and the burning desire and consistency to achieve one’s goals.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Please check out: http://www.nanybel.com

One of my goals this year is to do 6 commissioned Portraits and donate up to 25% of the proceeds to a meaningful cause. I will be 60 years young in September and I want to do a portrait for each decade I have lived on this Planet! I would be eternally grateful for your support.

If you or someone you know are considering commissioning a Portrait or want to acquire an existing painting or Giclée, or would like me to do a presentation or exhibition, please connect with me through:
http://www.nanybel.com/contact.html

I also have several pieces beautifully framed, as well as Giclées of different award-winning pieces, ready to show and available for sale.

Please share and spread the word. My clients are usually either referrals through word of mouth, or have seen my work at an art venue or at a relative or friend’s home or office, or have literally found me online. Some live in different parts of the World and there are quite a few who I have never met in person.

For instance, one of my clients contacted me for the first time in 2005. He had 4 young children and commissioned a portrait of each one when they turned 10. He had seen 2 portrait commissions that I did for his sister after she saw my work at an art show in Tennessee in the late 90’s.

Even though my work is not being physically exhibited at the moment, I am glad to deliver it to a venue or to private clients’ homes and offices.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nanybel Salazar

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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