After 30 years of honing her craft, mixed media artist Nadine Stefan carries herself with a sense of playfulness and freedom that is reflected in her “psychological landscapes”—works that she professes give her a serotonin hit as she creates them.
“My works aren't site specific,” she says. “They're about feeling and a state of mind and a quality of light. In order to reveal light, you have to also reveal the shadow.”
Stefan, who was born in Alberta and went to art school in Calgary, attributes the unique evolution of her style to her B.C. outdoor experiences after moving to Vancouver 12 years ago.
“Nature comes into our lives on a daily basis, the beauty is around us all the time,” she says, citing Stanley Park and the trails in North and West Van as sources of inspiration. “When I'm outdoors, I find that the fragility of everything enters my psyche in a much more conscious way...that feeling that things can change at any moment. We build these structures around ourselves and give ourselves the impression that it's all solid, secure and safe. Until suddenly a huge wind comes and blows down a 100-year-old tree.”
Transformation and change are major themes for Stefan, both in her personal life and in her works—which have a tendency to mirror each other—from her acute awareness of the seasons to her current state of lifestyle mobility. Lately, Stefan can be found somewhere in or in between Vancouver, Calgary, and the Kootenays.
Growing up one of five children in a conservative farm community, Stefan recalls the struggle in her early days to break free from the path set before her. At 52, she says she has now realized that if she embraces who she is then everyone else will, too—“I've truly embraced living my bliss, at all costs.”
Throughout the years, she's undertaken a plethora of art-related careers—teaching art, graphic design, and art administration—and now she's dedicated to making art that makes people feel.
“Emotions are the winds of the soul and windows to the spirit.”
Discover Stefan's portfolio at www.nadinestefan.ca.