We had the good fortune of connecting with Nissa Kubly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nissa, why did you pursue a creative career?
Early in my education I had really great mentors and teachers. They were instrumental in shaping my love for art. I knew in high school that I wanted to pursue an artistic field. In my small high school, the art teacher offered all art classes; 2D , 3D, Photography and Painting all taught by the same teacher. I thought “how can one person know how to do all this so well?” All of the mediums seemed like I needed a life time of knowledge to master them. He suggested attending the University of Wisconsin- Madison and take classes in Metals/Jewelry. Under great guidance from amazing instructors there I learned all aspects of metalworking (fabrication, casting, turning, holloware, stone setting, raising, etc) I left with a golden knowledge of the field in undergrad. Still eager to continue with art I studied at Arizona State University and worked in Photography and Metalworking while teaching beginning classes in Metals. Teaching art has been consistently interwoven into my art practice, whether it is at the college level, non-credit art classes, or as a high school art instructor, I have taught many students over the years and love to see their moments of creative breakthroughs and artistic progress .
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work references the early photographic processes, but with a contemporary approach. I create one-of-a-kind metal Pinhole Cameras in my studio ….these are simple, functional, lens less sculptures that range in size from a ring or bracelet to larger diameter pieces. I use the cameras to take images and then incorporate the images into jewelry or sculptural pieces. The most exciting times for me, are after creating an unique design for a camera, loading it with film and taking a photograph. When I come back to the darkroom and see the image appear from the camera I just made, it is amazing! Photography combines art of physics, chemistry and the creative process! A couple things have happened in my life that were lessons learned…First, diversify yourself-have a backup plan. How can you think outside the box in terms of your profession? What do you need to do to continue as a creative? For me it was teaching in the art field, this enables me to share my artistic vision with others and also continue my creative work. With advancing technology the idea of ‘teaching art’ is also changing. – which creates more opportunities, incorporating unconventional and unique ideas. One key element I’ve learned through out the creative process is I love problem solving. It might take me a while to create (each camera takes months to complete) but the evolution of the piece is an integral part of the process. In the end, each piece is unique, well crafted and functional.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Here’s a short list of favorites: Piestewa Peak Park – Trail No. 8 loop (hiking) Hava Java- best neighborhood coffee Desert Botanical Gardens- garden stroll Practical Art- art made by local artists Postino Wine Bar- great small plates & wine list Cafe Boa- Mill Ave (Tempe) dinner
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family is a great support for my artistic work. My husband, Jason Sellers, is always encouraging my creative practice through the good and bad times! My kids are in the studio helping me with small aspects of work which makes me happy to share some knowledge with them. Practical Art in Phoenix has given me many opportunities to show my work and has been a great supporter of the arts locally. Most recently, Etherton Gallery has plans to show my work at their gallery in Tucson in the near future.