Interview With Nancy Scheer

By Damion Wolfe, September 2003

When I moved to Baltimore 4 years ago, Nancy Scheer was one of the first people I met involved in the artist community here. I found Nancy to be a bit of an anomaly in the artist world because not only was she an accomplished artist herself, but also involved in the business end of the industry. Unlike half the artist population, Nancy was easily able to side-step ego issues to be joyfully supportive of other artists and musicians around town, and still maintain a focus on her own creativity.

Scheer received a BFA in General Fine Arts from The Maryland Institute College Of Art. Since then she has resided in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Arizona before returning to Baltimore. Nancy's two biggest areas of creativity are in the mediums of painting and calligraphy. Although I don't consider myself a great critic of the visual arts, I find Nancy's paintings to be full of depth, honesty and personal revelation. They strike an inner chord which I believe touches us all on some level. This is the kind of thing that one may easily achieve through song or writing, but to express it with boldness and clarity in a visual format seems to moi the most difficult of all. Before you finish reading the article I strongly suggest that you go to where you can peruse some of her finest work and judge for yourself. In addition to her painting Scheer has developed a nice side business doing calligraphy for weddings and other personal occasions.

The other side of Nancy is the business. Working in such prestigious art galleries as Hortwich Newman Gallery, Gallery 10 Inc., and Vanier Galleries, she amassed a wealth of experience in arts administration, marketing, exhibition installation and public relations. Currently Nancy also instructs and moderates a lecture series, "The Business of the Artist" around Baltimore. But, alas, there's more! Nancy loves music so much that she has worked in PR for such record labels as A&M and Interscope. She currently is a PR/Marketing rep for the Baltimore/Washington DC area for EPIC/Sony Music. (Nancy....I'm still waiting for my big break!!!:)

Nancy has graciously taken some time out to talk with us about her world and share some of her insights. If you would like to contact Nancy you can email her at: or go to WWW.NANCY.SCHEER.COM. Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Nancy Scheer!!!!

1. Nancy, you do the majority of your creative work in the mediums of painting and calligraphy. Which of the mediums is your favorite and why?

In painting, my answer is simple. Acrylics dry fast and I work fast when I have my mind set on the composition and color usage. As for calligraphy work, I seem to work better with the new calligraphy marker type pens over the nib and inkwells I've been using forever. They flow better, and cause minimal damage to the surfaces, unlike the metal nibs.

2. How do you decide what your next painting is going to represent? And what do you draw on for its inspiration?

My artwork is either personal issue-based, or commissioned based, whereas I am told what the subject is to be about. I usually try to focus on or insert the figure and use color to express the overall emotional tone. Inspirationally, I draw from the subject matter's effect on me, or stylistically and compositionally, my favorite artists' works.

3. You assume the rare roles of being both artist and artistic business woman. How do you maintain that balance without losing your creative inspiration?

Actually, I often lose creative inspiration. I went years without doing a single painting at one time. The artwork (painting) doesn't pay the rent, but the role of business woman, promoting art and the art of others, does. The balance is incredibly hard to maintain. I've learned that it is better for me to work 9-5 not doing art and/or being around/involved with visual artists. In doing that, I want to come into my studio and be creative on my own terms. Its been more satisfying, more successful, and has made me a less defeatist and overall happier person.

4. What do you find most rewarding about being on the business end of the art world?

Depends on which art world you're talking about. The visual art world can be rewarding when you see your personal taste, promotion and opinion become accepting amongst others in the same community. Working as a Gallery Director, you get a real sense of pride and success when you decide whose work you want to show, and you believe in the artist(s) (no matter what level they are in the field) and see it celebrated by their peers as well as by the more influential people. It makes you feel you know what's good and what art people will respond to. As for the music world, it's pretty much the same genre, but at this level in the music business, I don't have as yet the influence I desire or the experience. I just feel good to promote those who are talented and want to be successful.

5. What are your professional goals for the next few years....where would you like to see yourself?

I see myself, hopefully, in two different directions professionally. Either owning an art gallery, in Baltimore or elsewhere, or working full-time for a record label or management firm to promote new musical talent. I also see myself doing more artwork for myself, and exhibiting more often and nationally.


1. Who was the first boy you ever kissed?

A real kiss...? A boy named Brian in 8th grade! I wonder what became of him?

2. If you could share a night in the hottub with any artist, dead or alive (fully clothed of course), who would it be?

Visual artist: Egon Schiele because he seems like the type who would be into that...and musically, Chris Cornell, for obvious reasons....

3. How would you describe the artistic community in Baltimore?

Supportive, information/resource friendly and super incestuous! There are a lot of super-talented people in this town, and hopefully the rest of the world will realize that one day.

4. Name your top 3 favorite artists.

Egon Schiele

Robert Gwathmey

Helmut Newton

5. Would you ever consider giving it all up to become a nude juggler?

If I could juggle better, it would be an option. I don't know about the 'living on tips' thing. I would need to get in better shape.

6. What was your favorite childhood toy?

A doll called Dressy Bessie.

7. Do you think UFOs secretly control the City of Baltimore?

Not really.

8. What was has been your favorite art show (of your work) to date and why?

My solo exhibition at Arizona State University. It was an amazing, huge, open space and very impressive turnout. It was reviewed positively and I sold most of my works. Another reason was that I wasn't from Arizona, and had very little art community involvement, so the support was mostly from complete strangers who liked the work for the work, not to support me directly.

9. Would you ever date a guy with an 80's mullet?

Definitely not.... Did you grow one and asking me out? :)

10. What inspires you most in life?

My own will and perseverance to get through a lot of hard times, and the people around me who support me no matter what.