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Meet local artist, Nancy Staszak

Nancy & “Grandma Triceratops”

Medium: Acrylic on 24 x 24 canvas

Nancy, a retired public-school art teacher from Woodridge, IL, strikes those who first meet her as a person who must be a lot of fun. Big smile, bright eyes, along with a warm, happy-to-meet-you- personality immediately draws people to her.

After years of working with children, it makes sense that her own artwork would reflect an imaginative, engaging and whimsical style such as when she paints one of her favorite subjects -- dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs!

A few years back, Nancy visited the dinosaur exhibit at the Detroit Zoo where she discovered a host of different animatronic dinosaurs. They moved their heads and roared their presence. She watched the children shriek with laughter along with some measure of fear as they displayed their fascination running toward them and then back to the safety of their parents.

Recollecting that unforgettable visit, Nancy says, “The spirit of make-believe, mixed with the real, was everywhere. I had to paint them! I took photos for reference and still work from them today.”

Overall, her inspiration as an artist is the world around her both seen and unseen. She’ll observe nature then let her imagination run with whatever captivates her.

“Even manmade things catch my eye,” she says. “The lines of utility poles, electric and cellular towers – how they march on carrying power and messages. They remind me of the brooms in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

She sums up: “I can't make up my mind if I am a painter (of dinosaurs and landscapes), or a collage artist, or a sketcher, or an etcher or what. It's just that whatever medium I work in has endless possibilities and I run with them until the season changes or some new idea grabs hold of me. Then I chase after that. I may be like the dog in the movie, “UP” that sees a squirrel and loses all sense. Whatever it is I'm chasing though, doing Art make me see the world through different eyes, and it is beautiful!”

Nancy’s education includes:

BA from Knox; MA from Yale University

Oxbow, College of Santa Fe, Institute of American Indian Art, Anchor

Graphics, Julia Ayre’s Studio in Tulsa, OK

Making Arts Safely in Santa Fe

Peacock Press in Aberdeen, Scotland

For more information, visit her website:


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