Nina Kleinzeller: Pets, People and Steampunk

Friday, March 6th – Friday, March 13th, 2015.

Nina Kleinzeller’s past exhibition at the Glorious Gallery caught the hearts of many – Steam Punk enthusiasts and pet-lovers alike. With an illustrative, story-telling touch, Nina’s art spans from sculpture to paint to collage.

How long has Nina been an artist? “Even as a child I would always draw and paint, and I played with paper and clay,” she began, “but the decision to become an artist came later. When I was 17, I took part in workshops in Germany. We were working with a local artist, creating parts of a war memorial. We worked with clay and concrete, and that’s when I decided to study sculpture. Making art always made me happy.”

Although Nina’s exhibition was mostly large collages, often depicting people and their pets, three of her sculptures also sat by the window – mermaids in teacups, elbows resting on the edges. When asked what her preferred way of art-making is, Nina confessed, “It’s difficult to decide, but drawing and collage are winning at the moment. I love drawing because apart from pen, paper and your imagination, there is nothing else you need. Collage is great because you can move things around until you are happy with the effect. Recently I started creating small 3D objects, and I really enjoy it. Even in sculpture, I try to incorporate collage and drawing. I like mixing techniques.”

Nina’s mixing technique create collages that are as bold as they are beautiful, with striking backgrounds cradling peacefully snoozing bodies. “I found a few interesting-looking old pillowcases in a charity shop a while ago,” Nina explained, “and I thought it would be interesting to use them as the base of a painting that depicted sleeping people and animals. I really enjoyed it and painted quite a few, and they went on to become a part of the ‘Sleep and Rest’ exhibition in 2014 at the Musgrove Gallery, based in Taunton Hospital.”

As mentioned, Nina also paints, and hanging by the door sat her two pieces, ‘Together’ and ‘Forgetting’. The first showed a man and a woman sitting at a bar, and the one below a blonde woman on her own. Both works were made of hazy reds and yellows, dipping all of Nina’s characters in sultry mystery. “Bar scenes are a great opportunity to experiment with colour and light,” Nina said. “Those two paintings are about people who are lost in their thoughts. They want to be somewhere else – they are day-dreamers like me.”

Hanging next to the window was ‘Time for Tea’. Like the sculptures, it shows a mermaid in a teacup – but this one wore a small hat over her voluminous, orange hair, and an eye-patch. If you looked closely, her tail seemed to be made of armour. Above her, a robotic arm offered her a cup of tea.  “I went to the Steampunk ball at the Phoenix last year,” Nina explained, “It was completely new to me, and I found it very inspirational. I loved the whole atmosphere – the way people use their imagination to create their costumes. It’s a perfect environment for an artist! Steampunk gave me loads of new ideas, and one of them was the ‘Time for Tea’ collage.”

Nina is now looking forward to her future exhibitions. She’s planning to create more 3D objects, and to experiment with paper-mache. Those of you who adored her mermaid pieces will be pleased to know there may be more on the horizon. Keep up with her work at Nina’s Sketch-Book.

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