We had the good fortune of connecting with Nancy Troupe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nancy, why did you pursue a creative career?
Art is the only career that ever made any sense to me. From as early as I remember, I was always drawing, coloring, and painting. High school and college years broadened my appreciation of all forms of art as I explored ceramics, photography, and metal art as well. Those experiences made me feel alive, unlike the other classes and studies that left me bored and restless. I never had an urge to create any other career besides one in the arts. And while contemplating a career in art, even though I was uncertain about the “where” and “how”, I was very certain about the “what” and “why”.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Although I have produced many forms of art: ceramic sculpture, metal art, pen & ink/pencil, graphic design for t-shirts and business logos, computer illustrations for children’s books……..at the end of the day, I am a Teaching Artist, specializing in acrylic painting. This being different from an art teacher in that I do not teach a course with lessons, lectures, and tests. But I am an artist who teaches painting skills while I am painting. That is what I love to do, and I’m good at it. Whether I am teaching accomplished artists in a workshop setting, or someone new to the paintbrush who just wants to explore the idea of painting, I help to inspire and educate, while taking the sometimes awkward or fearful aspect out of learning a skill that may at times seem lofty or inaccessible. When light bulbs go on, and a student says they now look at things differently…..with an artist’s eye……I am thrilled, and grateful that I have made an impact like that. Time helps to hone any skill. I have been teaching off and on through the years since the 1970’s. Stopping to raise a family, and to take other work with a steady pay, but little by little, getting back to more and more art work. Expanding your network and letting the world know what it is you do is closely related to how many opportunities you will hear about. You do not have to be the world’s best artist to make an impact. There are so many artists with work far superior to mine; whose work I admire and love. But my passion is to interact with people, and hold conversations, and unravel art mysteries. I love to teach the art of painting. I am a Teaching Artist.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The Phoenix Art Museum is always a grand experience when friends are in town! So much to share with the wonderful exhibits there. But then we would make our way up to Carefree and Cave Creek. The Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival in November is a relaxing and casual experience with exceptional local art. And of course the wine makes the whole experience that much better! Cave Creek is chock full of inviting galleries, craft displays, fun yard art, and the best eateries! From Big Earl’s Greasy Eats (for the best burger served in a converted 1930’s Standard gas station); to The Grotto Cafe for their locally roasted organic coffee, fresh pastries, exquisite salads and unique dishes, and their absolutely beautiful patio under the trees and colorful umbrellas; to the fine dining of Cartwright’s Cuisine for wild game or tamer dinners, all with a southwest cowboy flare…..every appetizer, meal, and dessert, a treat in itself. No trip to Phoenix is complete with a visit to Sedona for a day or two! Or three! The galleries and eateries in the Tlaquepaque Village will keep you exploring to your hearts content. And Sedona has delightful little inns and Airbnbs to rest your bones before another fun day exploring Oak Creek and the hiking trails and swimming holes you will discover along that beautiful scenic waterway. If you go at the right time of year (Jul-Sep) you can even pick wild blackberries, take them home, and make blackberry pies!! So much to do here in the Southwest!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Where would I be without the teachers and mentors and cheerleaders in my life? Southern California high school and college teachers, private art studio owners where I learned and also taught, and with my own mother who always encouraged and helped me brainstorm new ideas; these people may be long gone from this world, but their encouragement and lessons live in me. The many people I’ve worked with through the years while doing vastly different forms of art: designing t-shirts for Toucan Trading Co and World Wildlife Fund, designing decorative cigarette lighters for People Choice Pewter Manufacturing Co., helping business owners and home owners capture their dreams and display them visually by painting murals on their walls when I owned and operated Murals Faux Real. Today, my family encourages and brainstorms with me as we share our love of art, and different forms of art. I also have a network of professionals who are invaluable. Anna Weber, Literary Strategist, at www.successfullypublished.com, walks people through the process of writing, publishing and promoting their work. And she does it so well. She has helped me through the technicalities of the publishing and print world as I illustrate books written by various authors. Another dear friend Melissa Trinkl, owner of Melt Productions in Cave creek, Arizona, www.meltproductions.com has provided me with years of teaching work with her fun and creative “Vino and Canvas” parties, where we lead groups of people through a light-hearted and fun painting experience while enjoying their favorite wine or beverage. We call it FUN ART, as opposed to fine art, and we certainly do that….HAVE FUN! The statewide organization, Arizona Art Alliance www azartalliance.com has been a real family for all of my art needs. I’ve been involved with it over 15 years, and am part of the Executive Board. A non-profit, staffed by volunteers, we provide public awareness and exposure to art, provide resources for thousands of artists, initiate exhibitions and workshops for fine art in Arizona, as well as provide numerous outreach programs to bring art to Veterans, people with special challenges, and local communities. This organization is highly acclaimed and I am very proud to be associated with the many talented and generous people involved. I feel lucky to have had so much fun and learning in my career as a teaching artist. And I’m never done…..always looking forward to my next art adventure!
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