Grace and Frankie...and Nancy!

Welcome back to another edition of Nancy’s World!

  This week we will be getting the inside scoop on another side to Nancy. Nancy is very prolific. You can tell just by looking around the studio.  She has two large rooms with work that she’s made over the years and is constantly making more for her own personal practice, but around three years ago she got a unique opportunity to make work for a character on the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie starring legends Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

OB: What is your involvement with Grace and Frankie?

NR: I am Frankie’s art.  

OB: You make work for Lily Tomlin’s character. How did you get this opportunity?

NR: So, one day I get a phone call from my husband telling me to call our old family friend Robbie who is one of the Executive Producers on the show and she told me that they were looking for an artist to be Frankie’s work. I sent my work out there and was selected from a group artists they had rounded up. I shared my website and they picked some paintings along with items from my studio,like, oil bar scraps, my Aunt Fage’s stool, palette knives, brushes, containers.  I like seeing those little objects around the show.  

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OB: What was your reaction to getting this job?

NR: I was over the moon. I love Lily Tomlin!

OB: What do you like about the show?

NR: I like what they (Grace and Frankie) are dealing with.  I like the whole aging women thing. I like the fact that there is humor involved with the subject of agism and that the two main characters give support to each other despite the extreme differences in their personalities.

OB: Do you feel like you identify with Frankie in any way?

NR: I do. It’s funny but, yeah! We are both artists, mothers, and I think we have the same hair even though her’s is a wig.

OB: Describe the process of making work for a Netflix Series.

NR: Well, its a trip because they do it several ways in a very short period of time. Sometimes they’ll rent existing pieces of mine, or they’ll license it because they need to make it bigger, and other times they’ll commission me to make paintings based on the script. It’s great because I get to have my existing work on set and then I get to make paintings of things like poodles, vaginas, and Jane Fonda as a vampire.

OB: What can we look for art wise on season three?

NR: First of all, in the season premiere Frankie is having her first one woman show.  My go-to person on the show, Devra,   called me up and said “Frankie is having one person show so that means Nancy Rosen is having a one person show!”  It was a couple months of crazy gathering, shipping, and resizing my work to fit the huge 30ft tall space. I got to go out to Hollywood and be an extra on set which was a huge trip because I was getting paid to look at my own work. They directed me to walk up to this piece of mine and the whole time I was thinking about how wonderfully weird the experience was and also wishing I had an eraser to fix something in the piece.  

OB:What do you like about having work on a television show versus having work in a gallery?

NR: It’s kinda apples and oranges. You do a show at a gallery: You send the work to the space and then when it’s done you pick it up and you’re none the wiser. With a TV show you send out all of these works of yours and you relinquish all curatorial control of your work to the production team- I’m just a supplier.  The difference between viewing work in a gallery versus it being on TV is that there’s a much broader range of viewers or audience members. When I have a show it’s mostly friends, family, collectors, and other artists visiting the gallery.  The TV platform makes it more accessible for people to see my work when it’s in the background of a set or written into the script. It’s an added bonus for all of the people in my life who are fans of my work to see it on a screen and having work around hollywood people is always exciting.

Well, that’s all for this week! Look out for the Season 3 of Grace and Frankie March 24th on Netflix!

Welcome to the Studio: Nancy's World

When first walking up To Nancy Rosen's store-front studio in West Rogers Park, you are met with huge window-sized portraits of neighborhood Jewish boys in their traditional garb: black slacks, white shirts, black or gray coats, and stunning wide brimmed hats. You can tell that this space is one that draws all members of the community in with open arms. Passing through the doors your eyes are immediately overcome with the magnitude of the space and volume of work posted on the walls. Trinkets and supplies smattered in every nook and cranny possible, shrines of family photographs, and flat files full of work made over the past two decades. You feel warm and at home in this space because it is a haven; a creative brain dwelling where Nancy lives and breathes art.

The space itself speaks volumes, but here's a little bit about what Nancy has to say about her art process, life and work.

OB: How long have you been an artist?

NR: I’ve always had a creative outlet ever since I'm five years old. Whether it was bead making, leather tooling, jewelry making, or hand painting textiles on fabric, I’ve always found creating things with your hands to be very meditative and cathartic. I’ve been painting full-time for 23 years now.

OB: What do you find inspiring?

NR: I start with you and then let the games begin.


OB: What materials do you use?

NR: I use oil bars, china markers, conte crayon, and graphite- anything that will stick together.  

OB: Where do your paintings start?  

NR: My work is figurative. It all starts with a live subject from a class that I take every Tuesday. The work takes shape when I take them back to the studio with me so I can finish them.  


OB: Are there narratives present in your work?

NR: No,  when I start a painting there’s no plan.  It’s all intuitive.  Viewers can create their own narratives, I’m just having fun.  My only qualifier is that the composition sticks.

OB: When do you know you’re finished with a piece?
NR: When there’s no other mark to be made.

OB: What are some reactions that your work has gotten?
NR: I’ve gotten some strange reactions from men, but I don’t really give a shit about what people think.  I just paint because I have to.

OB: Describe your work in 5 five words?
NR: Can, You, Explain, My, Work?