Nancy Dunaway is an Arkansas artist who lives in North Little Rock with her dog, Charley. Her work is eclectic and includes acrylic paintings, mixed media, mono-prints, encaustic, collage, artists’ books, printmaking, and assemblage. From 1994 to 2008, she served as chairperson of the Art Department at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, where she taught classes in drawing, illustration, book arts, experimental and contemporary media, and art education. In 2001, she was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Book Arts from the Arkansas Arts Council. She received her MFA in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design and has illustrated two children’s books: The Old Lady Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle (by Margery MacDonald) and I Scream, You Scream (by Lillian Morrison).
Dunaway served from 2003 to 2007 as president of the Society of Layerists in Multi Media. She has exhibited her work regionally and nationally in many venues. She co-edited The Art of Layering: Making Connections with Mary Carroll Nelson in 2004, and has led workshops in book arts, collage, mixed media, and print-making in the U.S. and Canada. Her work is in many private and corporate collections. One of her artists’ books, Hildegarde of Bingen, is in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC.
My work is a reflection of my life, very eclectic…a curious combination of things often inspired by a glimpse of something natural and then taking a leap somewhere else. I have a very spiritual side, and my work always has that component as well. I like to think it tells stories of my journey along the path and, while very specific to me in the making, connects somewhere with the viewer to touch their own story too.
Making my art is a dialogue between me and the process and the materials. I begin with a loose notion of an idea or a quote or something that inspired me that I read or researched. Then I put a mark or an image on canvas or paper or a printing plate. I often gather materials to assemble, and then the materials themselves guide me in where to go next. It is always a constant dialogue with many changes and surprises along the way. Layers form and weave, revealing some secrets and concealing others, offering little glimpses of things and reflecting my own innate curiosity and sense of exploration. Everything progresses until it finally tells me enough! Then hopefully I have the sense to just stop and let it sit awhile. Sometimes it truly is enough, and sometimes it tugs at me with just the final little thing it needs for completion. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t make art. My studio is my sanctuary and the place I feel best. I feel so fortunate to connect to spirit and to others through art making.