Name: Nicole A. Banowetz
Where I live: Colorado, near Denver. (Lakewood, Colorado)
What I create: Sewn inflatable fabric sculptures.
What inspired me to become an artist: Art has always been a part of my life. I never felt like I made the decision to become an artist, but I just couldn’t survive if I stopped creating objects. I wasn’t happy unless I was making things, so I always found ways to make art a major part of my life. I became an artist through my natural obsessive act of making.
My involvement in this year’s Canal Convergence: I am creating an interactive, inflatable sculpture inspired by the freshwater algae which is found in the canal. My giant, glowing strands of algae will emerge from the canal and stretch its tendrils toward viewers on the Waterfront. My sculpture “Permutate” encourages the viewer to have a collaborative interaction with the environment by rewarding thoughtful interaction with the installation. This installation is a creative technology collaboration with Bryan Costanza, who has programmed the lights in the sculpture that respond to the viewers’ touch.
What I’m most looking forward to regarding this year’s event: I am excited to see all the artworks along the canal and get a chance to meet the other artists in the festival.
Challenges of living/creating artwork: It’s always a challenge to balance surviving and making art. Artists have to be creative not only in their art practice but also in their ability to survive in a world that doesn’t always value the time and skill which goes into creating an artwork. Artists need to have business skills, but often putting these skills into practice completely clashes with the passion inherent in the art making process. I try to push my artwork into new more challenging directions, but there is always a fear as an artist that you could get stuck making “easy” work.
Other activities I enjoy: I love nature and exploration. All of the work I create is inspired by forms I find in the natural world. One of my favorite and most inspiring activities is hiking. I also love to travel to new parts of the world whenever I get the chance. I try to combine my love for art, nature, and travel by finding art residences in interesting, remote, and beautiful places around the world.
If I had four hours with absolutely nothing to do on a Saturday, here’s how I would spend it: If there was nice weather I would go on a hike, but if the weather was bad, I would probably be sewing.
My No. 1 suggestion to new artists: I think the most important thing a new artist can do is to find a way to make art a part of their everyday life. Not only should they be working on their own personal artwork, but they can also find jobs that are in the art world, such as assisting more established artists, teaching art to young people, working as a craftsperson, etc. When you are first becoming an artist, it’s important just to keep the momentum of creation. But artists must also remember to experience and embrace life so that they have something outside of art that they are passionate about.
Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light is a free, 10-day, public art event from Nov. 8–17, at the Scottsdale Waterfront.
This year’s event follows the theme of “The Story of Water” and will feature numerous large-scale, light-based installations, many of which will have interactive components.
In addition to the artworks, Canal Convergence features live performances, food vendors, a beer and wine garden, educational artist talks and all-ages workshops and activities throughout the event.
Visit CanalConvergence.com for more information.