Nina Tichava’s paintings are composed of innumerable layers of paper, paint, beads, and heartfelt stories of her own personal history. Tichava is a native New Mexican, and her artwork emerged from the struggle of trying to fit into the native cultures she so deeply admired, but which she was not born into. Even so, the elements of Native American and Hispanic design comprise her artistic language: beads, design elements from weavings, natural elements.
Her emphasis on craft and tribute to process is a direct influence from Nina’s studies at the California College of the Arts (or Arts + Crafts as it was named at the time) in San Francisco, as well as her upbringing in northern New Mexico. Her father was a photographer and weaver, and Nina’s mother was part of a local weaving guild formed of predominantly women weavers from across northern New Mexico. The guild was part of the larger crafting community of potters, bead makers, textile artists and more; locals relied on these traditions to support their families.
“My paintings draw heavily from environment, taking shape as a process-based and heavily layered combinations of painting, printmaking, and collage….With a background in weaving and beading, my sensibility leans toward abstraction with ornamental elements and textural surfaces. I’m a native New Mexican. I was born and raised here; my heart is here; I will always come back here. This place is kind of the heartbeat of my life…but I still feel totally outside of it in a very interesting way…” Nina Tichava