Artist's Statement
Nancy in Studio
For decades I’ve been creating “People-scapes,” oil, sculptured characters and applied objects on canvas, addressing cultural, political and spiritual issues facing society.  By juxta-posing people in recognizable places and situations, each painting weaves together a story about contemporary life, filled with layers of detail, symbolism and humor.

Born in Bronx, New York, I attended the College of New Rochelle at age 15 to study painting and sculpture, after completing Bronx HS of Science. I am a certified computer animator, and singer-songwriter.  I continue to create new work
and regularly exhibit in solo and group shows.

I've also lived in Europe and Thailand, and traveled throughout the U.S., Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia, India and Nepal while painting in plein air, which has served the development of my painting style and sharpen my understanding of the cultural and spiritual diversity of the world landscape. I have come to realize that art is truly a universal language.

"Plane slashing” is the latest progression
of my 3D technique building up the canvas; lately I’m tearing, cutting and manipulating the plane of an existing painting,while integrating it with one or more finished canvases, then adding sculpture and found objects.

As this work evolves, the experience is liberating, moving from chaos to destruction and on to an intuitive composition somewhere between abstraction and surrealism. Everyday, I take the brush to canvas and, although I am confronted with fear and insecurity, I also tap into a limitless source of imagery. In those moments, time falls away and it seems that the work creates itself.


                                George Krevsky Gallery

Nancy Calef, Jack Levine, Lawrence Ferlinghetti

"Nancy Calef's landscapes of
people are a real challenge
to any figurative painter,
by portraying humanity en masse
with all its sad happy faces."

Lawrence Ferlinghetti - Award
winning poet and painter;
co-founder - City Lights Bookstore


                                                                                   Nancy Calef, Jack Levine, Lawre
nce Ferlinghetti
                                                                                   photo by Christine Torrington

"When I first saw Nancy Calef's paintings I thought, 'Now here's an original idea.' As a traditional, old workhorse, I don't have much use for and don't believe in classifying contemporary art. I do think a picture should say something and Nancy's subject matter and palette express a view of the world beyond her years."

Jack Levine --
former President of the American
Academy of Arts and Letters, New York

"Think Hieronymus Bosch meets George Grosz meets Zap Comix."
Edward Guthmann --
San Francisco Chronicle

“Her Peoplescapes are a must-see!" Nicole Meoli -- Where Magazine

“This is art with an attitude!”  Willie Brown,  former SF Mayor

Peoplescapes My Story

has become essential to my creative process. Using piano and my vocals, I'm working to capture and perform the
melodies and lyrics I hear in my head. 

Nancy Calef Joe Gilardi Live Worms 2018
Nancy Calef and Joe Gilardi at Live Worms Gallery, SF, CA
photo by Jody Weiner 2018
Nancy Calef performs Bird & Beckett, SF

Performing originals and covers at Bird & Beckett, SF, CA
photo by Joe Cimino 2017

Nancy Calef performs at Specs
Specs, SF
photo by Jody Weiner 2017

Nancy Calef Beat Museum 2015
Performing originals at the Beat Museum, SF, CA
photo by Eduardo Bonsi

Nancy Calef, Will Rogers

Nancy Calef, Will Rogers & Joe Garardi - Live Worms Gallery,
San Francisco, photo by Raven Osborne

Nancy Calef performs at Emerald Tablet
Nancy Calef at Emerald Tablet, San Francisco,
photo by Della Heywood

Nancy Calef & Bob Bralove Emerald Tablet
Nancy Calef, Bob Bralove at Emerald Tablet
photo by Judy On

Nancy Calef Ned Boynton band Caffe Trieste
Nancy Calef, Ned Boynton Band - Surfer Roma, Caffe Trieste
photo by Stewart Bloom

Peoplescapes -- My Story From Purging To Painting
an illustrated memoir by Nancy Calef with Jody Weiner
full-color and black-and-white paintings and drawings

This transformational journey in words and 149 full color paintings and drawings, chronicles Nancy Calef's evolution from child model, suffering anorexia and bulimia, through recovery and maturation into a multi-disciplined artist renowned for her innovative "Peoplescapes:" vibrant plein-air colors applied to exaggerated snapshots of the human condition.  Characters are often rendered in 3D, sculpted on the canvas, found objects, symbolism and commentary added, together producing a razor sharp narrative on issues facing society.

“This memoir tells the story of how Calef ingeniously transformed her mother’s ravenous ambition for Nancy to be a “star” -- through much childhood and young adulthood suffering -- into a world stage where the audience becomes sensitively and beautifully executed human beings, evoked with irony, humor and pathos in a painting style uniquely her own.” 

Jack Hirschman - Award-winning author and poet, painter and former Poet Laureate of San Francisco, CA

"Nancy Calef is proof that we can all overcome life's difficulties and turn negative experiences into positive creativity. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about triumph over adversity, and finding one's own creative path and purpose."

Susan Barton, eBook Review Gal


Bob Bralove & Nancy Calef
Nancy Calef, Bob Bralove, Expressions Gallery
Photo by Joe Cimino

Contributing Artist:

Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God       
Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God -
 51 Women Reveal the Power of
Positive Female Connection

Band of Women

Prisoners of Truth by Jody Weiner

Prisoners of Truth
by Jody Weiner
Council Oak Books
Nancy Calef cover art

Battered Suitcase - Nancy Calef cover art

Battered Suitcase

Vagabond Press
Nancy Calef - cover art

Nancy Calef Gallery
copyright 2019
all rights reserved

For More Info and to Purchase:
Please see Babu Books

Peoplescapes -- My Story from
Purging to Painting

By Nancy Calef with Jody Weiner
Publisher: Babu Books,
Publication date: May 27, 2014 Categories: Nonfiction  |  Memoir  |  Art  |  Health
156 pages  |  ISBN: 978-0-9898171-0-3  |  
Price: $22.95/ $24. 90 CAN    paperback

Book design by Nancy Calef
Original art by Nancy Calef
Photographs of art by Jody Weiner