Annie Henrie Nader is painter and illustrator who explains, “Most of my figures tend to radiate an inner calm and satisfaction, and my hope is that this may in turn have the viewer find that mirrored in themselves”. Nader was born in New York City, graduated from BYU, and she and her husband now call Utah home.
How would you describe yourself as an artist? I would describe myself as an artist who is attempting to make art that is timeless and also contemporary. I have loved how Greek sculpture and Renaissance art have continued to set the standard of excellence, and this art is always beautiful whatever decade we happen to be in. I hope to make art that recalls the past, that expresses the process of age and the beauty of ‘being weathered’, while also tapping into modern spirituality. It has become important to me to address what makes someone or something beautiful- that the things that make us imperfect, a little chaotic, and experienced can shape us into more holy, complete, and beautiful human beings.
You have said, “Most of my figures tend to radiate an inner calm and satisfaction.” Explain. A lot of the women in my paintings are meant to be iconic women, women that others can relate to in one way or another. These women in a way represent what I hope and wish for – how it feels to experience the deep abiding peace that the Gospel of Christ promises, despite what goes on in life. Many of the women I paint reflect happiness and peace alongside a sense of sorrow- the two conflict within this being as being the necessary opposites in life. Ultimately, these women show that their peace and spiritual contentment have overcome the cares and sorrows of the world, and that they are ‘one in Christ’.
Your father is an accomplished artist. It was an amazing thing to have my dad as my own personal art coach. In many ways I wanted to emulate everything he did- from his work ethic to his love of texture and exploring new materials, to how he always made his paintings radiate light. As I started painting more and more I did see our styles diverge- his style being a more intense, masculine approach to landscape painting, while mine branched into more feminine themes and colors. It’s still really fun to compare notes and brainstorm about new ideas with my dad, and to this day my mom and dad are my most favorite art critics. I know that if they both approve of a painting I’ve done, it’s a good one. I owe everything to the support and encouragement of my parents.
You served a mission in England and studied in Europe. How did those experiences shape your voice as an artist? My studies abroad through BYU were incredibly influential, and were some of the best things I did as a student there. In England and Italy I saw A LOT of art- I saw the difference between overly sexualized and explicit art and art that meant to lift and inspire others to be better and greater human beings. I found my style there, and in many ways, found who I was. My mind was opened to the many different types of people and cultures there are in the world, and loved learning about the history of art.
Serving in England was pivotal in so many ways. There I met real life saints and angels- people who had gone through hard things but had risen above them and embraced the light of Christ. I met people who had been tried and tested in every way but were serving and ministering- by every definition they were angels. I also saw how silly it would be to just make art for decoration’s sake- there was so much need for help, compassion, and the Gospel in the world. However, I knew that art was my one natural talent, and the mission inspired me to work to find how to apply it, how to help the world on an everyday basis. It has been a powerful motivation to create and promote this type of art, and in a way, has continued the mission of spreading the Gospel.