Nomi Silverman is a mixed-media artist from Connecticut. “[It’s] something I always did—never occurred to me that I would do something different,” she says regarding her profession in an interview with Arts Help.
Silverman was fortunate enough to grow up in an encouraging environment. Her parents, recognizing her passion for the arts, sent her to an art high school, and eventually art school, where she was surrounded by like-minded peers. She explains, “The only caveat was that I took it seriously.” And serious, she was.
Speaking of family, her uncle was an artist and her earliest influence. Later on, Silverman discovered the artwork from Kathe Kollwitz, a German impressionist artist. “[Her] power and passion grabbed me by the heart, and she is still perhaps my strongest influence,” explains Silverman. Not a big fan of the word “inspire”, Silverman has a particularly strong work ethic, as she regards art as a serious business. “It’s not a hobby,” she asserts.
Currently, Silverman is an instructor at Greenwich Arts Society and Silvermine Guild in Connecticut. When her students approach her for advice on art as a career choice, she can’t stress enough the need to work on their craft on a daily basis. “There is no such thing as inspiration,” Silverman explains. “It’s just work. And don’t beat yourself up over a ‘bad work’ or mark.”
Being a morning person and a multi-tasker, she says, “That’s when I do the work that involves most thinking. In the afternoon, I can do work that’s more production-focused.” Silverman’s artistic process often involves juggling two or three projects (in different mediums) at the same time, whether it’s pastel, print or sculpture. “When those pieces are at a critical junction, or a technical junction, I will devote more time to that,” she adds.
Her most recent project, a book on a Syrian student who fled to Berlin, is in its final stages of production. Additionally, Silverman has started a project based on The Decameron, viewing it in light of today’s tumultuous political climate. Simultaneously, she has a life-sized sculpture project, representing the “interaction between immigrant and native born” and a pastel series delving into the life of a transgender subject.
This multifaceted artist describes herself as a storyteller, explaining how some of her own family members were victims of state-sponsored terrorism. “As a result, I am acutely aware of the power of the state and its consequences,” she observes.
Delving into stories of homelessness, racial inequality, LGBTQI+ rights and the lives of refugees and immigrants, Silverman’s practice uplifts the marginalized, echoing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Reduced Inequalities. Through her art, she gives voice to those on the outside of today’s sociopolitical climate in the hopes that inclusivity will one day be the norm.
Learn more about Nomi Silverman’s work here.