Today we’d like to introduce you to Nara Strete.
Nara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My formal training is mostly in fine and studio art but I’ve always been interested in illustrative and graphic arts as well. I received a BFA in Fine Art from East Stroudsburg University and an MFA from Penn State University in Drawing and Painting. During my time at Penn State, I also worked as a teaching assistant and taught two introductory drawing courses. From about 2008 to present I’ve been selling my original work as well as taking private commissions. I’ve also been consistently participating in art exhibitions and am currently planning to curate a show for 2017. I can’t remember a time in my life when art wasn’t a focus for me.
Has it been a smooth road?
An inherent challenge, I think, has been the perceived divide between fine art and illustration. Depending on who you talk to, the more illustrative or graphic styles don’t belong in fine art or high art spaces (unless it is being purposely elevated or commented on). Similarly, there’s been some challenges over the years finding work that suits my training and skill set. There’s been a lot of “oh you’re an artist, could you design my website?” from folks not necessarily understanding the difference in backgrounds between illustration versus graphic design or web design. Many artists wear different hats and take on a variety of work, but our skills and interests are not universally interchangeable.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and career?
As with many things, a lot has had to do with being at the right place at the right time, as well as knowing the right people. I first began exhibiting my work thanks to a friend who’d introduced me to a weekly meeting of local artists- that led me to a series of shows and opportunities.
Is there a quality or characteristic that has played an outsized role in your success?
One-half of the equation is that I offer something visually unique and distinct- I really feel that I have a defined voice in my work. When I was accepted into my graduate program I was told that they strive to find artists who have their own vision. The other half is just that I’ve been blessed with the ability to find and befriend some incredibly talented folks. Having solidarity with other artists- visual or otherwise- is such a boon.
Tell us about your favorite and least favorites things about our city.
I love that Los Angeles is such a diverse place. I used to live in a very small town and it’s an amazing contrast. I have access to so much art and culture now. LA is a place where there’s always something interesting to see- concerts, museums, art shows, conventions, you name it. I’m also wild about all the fantastic food here!
My biggest dislike about LA is driving and the traffic. I always make my spouse do the driving! I also don’t get to see all my friends as often as I’d like because they’re really spread out all over the map.
- Digital painted illustrations start at $250, prices vary depending on complexity
- Small traditional inked work starts at $60, prices vary depending on complexity
- Illustrations for book covers, e-books, or audiobooks start at $250
- Traditional marker illustrations depending on size and complexity range from $100-500
- Website: https://narastrete.carbonmade.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/narastrete/
- Other: @nmstrete on twitter