ARTIST INTERVIEW: Nancy Pearce

Nancy Pearce is the creative mastermind behind PEARCE, a line of unusual sculptural brass objects. We spoke to Nancy about her creative journey.

Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Nancy Pearce arrived in Los Angeles after living in Seattle, upstate New York, and Berlin, and then spent eight years in Joshua Tree honing her desert survival skills before happily re-landing back in LA. She continually puts her seemingly bullshit-at-the-time interdisciplinary degree from college to practice with work in film and archives and art. She resists calling herself an artist because she sees herself as more of a connector and collaborator. Her own pieces are defined by form and a sense of humor. She celebrates everyday life and creates trophies of the mundane – a paper plate, bagel or tube of toothpaste elevated into sculptural form when cast in bronze. She also works with Commune Design on a series of Commune + Nancy Pearce items only available at Commune, as well as with Heath Ceramics casting their iconic designs in bronze to create truly heirloom pieces that survive not only generations, but geological time.
 
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What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
Most recently I took a trip to Smart & Final, eyeing stacks and stacks of absurdly cheap styrofoam containers for inspiration. If Herzog complains there are no new images in the world and you need to haul a steamship over a mountain to create one, I believe in finding connection with the commonplace. I particularly love the irony of a throwaway object like a paper plate or plastic water bottle cast in bronze. I was totally inspired by Roy Mcmackin’s plastic lawn chair in bronze at the Seattle Sculpture Park and also Sherrie Levine’s appropriation of Duchamp’s urinal in bronze at the Broad Museum.
 
Do you feel like you’re part of a greater community of artists? If so, describe why?
My work would not exist without the community of artists and craftspeople around me – both in what gets made and how it gets made. The bronze objects are sand cast which is a direct process eliminating the need for a mold. The owner of the foundry I use is 82 years old and still oversees each mold-making and bronze pour. The polisher has also been at it for over 40 years. Achieving the high polish is a laborious five-step technique requiring zen-like dedication to the material and the process.
 
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How are you inspired by the environment around you, how does home/city/nature you live in affect your work?
I am inspired by the everyday object around me, particularly the ones that come from the domestic sphere. I like the idea of almost circumventing the artist in a way and instead, incorporate that artistic mind straight into the day-to-day.
 
What do you hope to share with those who purchase your art and bring it ultimately into their lives?
Don’t drop it on your foot! Other than that I encourage people to live with the pieces in whatever way makes them happy. Place it on a pedestal or use as a doorstop. The more you handle it the better the patina. I love that you could bury one of the pieces in the backyard for a year and it would look even better.
 
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