Artist JoAnn Nava

An example of fine art by JoAnn Nava

Photo of JoAnn Nava


It would be difficult to find a more culturally rich environment to grow an artist than the south Bronx in the 1950s. These early sensory impressions were akin to living in a John Sloan painting; with fire escapes, clothes lines and stick ball. But it was later, going to school in the Chicago area, that the commitment to art was set. Exploring the Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum JoAnn developed a mutual admiration for contemporary artists and ancient artisans.
Both would come into play while designing textiles, murals and faux finishes for the interior design trade.  As head artist and designer for Surface Art Inc., her handpainted textiles graced the homes of clients including Connie Chung and Charlie Sheen.  For 15 years she was the resident artist for Twist Nightclub of Miami where JoAnn  annualy transformed the South Beach hot spot with themes such as Pompeii, Picasso, Pollock, Tibetan temple, the Audubon Room and ancient Greek pottery painting. The combination of studying these many masters and the years spent restoring and reproducing milk paint finishes for 18th century Swedish furniture heavily influenced materials used in her contemporary art. Her pallette and application are instantly recognizable.
In Nava’s first solo exhibition, Cookies & Milk, the familiar images are simplified and oversized. Milk is the unifying human expierience which spans all times and cultures. The next series, Happy Birthday to You and You, continues the theme of life affirming innocence with large paintings of candle lit cakes and a sculptural installation of children celebrating together. Whether you are seeing Nava’s joyful people in Chinatown or Living Treasures, her  series of older vital Americans, you can recognize the language by use of materials and intent. Milk paints, house paints and varnishes used in furniture painting and murals give the work an old world palette. House paint as a medium [...]

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