Woodrow Nash

The Artist

Born in Akron, Ohio in 1948, Nash lived through an era in which the United States’ racial divide negatively affected Black Americans; he received a segregated education in Black inner city schools. Despite the challenges African Americans faced growing up in 1950’s and 60’s America, he continued his education and career with an impassioned attitude. He began his art practice as a freelance muralist and fashion illustrator, moving to New York City in 1975 graduating from the Pels School of Art in 1977.

Following a decade-long career in New York City, he returned to Ohio to work as a technical illustrator at Goodyear Space Corporation and then worked for American Greetings Corporation. In 1991, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin to work as a graphic designer in an era in which the graphic arts were still exempt from the commodification of technology.

Contemporary artist Woodrow Nash creates soulful sculptures, full of vibrant symbolism that reflects our capacity for human greatness. As a world-renowned ceramic artist, he celebrates the human form and figure through ornate, handmade ceramic busts. For Nash, art and life are synonymous – and his sculptures exemplify this belief: creativity is a way for people to mark their precious time on this planet. His artwork integrates expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics that yield these striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.

African Nouveau art, a term he coined himself, draws inspiration from both African sculptural adornments and the French Art Nouveau movement. He models his lifelike, handmade ceramic sculptures after a traditional style from 15th century Benin in West Africa, while upholding the vibrant color palette seen in many tribal cultures. His sculptures honor not one, but many indigenous cultures while drawing upon the aesthetic qualities of traditional African clay art and artifacts.