After 9/11, muralist and fine artist Nicole Fontana says it was difficult to travel with oil paints—due to their chemical compounds—so while studying abroad in Venice, she began working with an alternative medium.
"That's when I started making collages. I used mailers and started collaging out of a budget issue," she explains.
Fontana studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she earned her teaching degree and majored in painting and minored in art history. After graduating, she worked for a faux finishing company as a painter, and after a few months of working for a boss she disliked, decided to start her own company.
"I'm lucky enough to have parents who are supportive—they are both academics so they told me if I wanted to become an artist, to study it in the best way possible," she says.
She started her own painting company in Brooklyn and then returned to her hometown of Las Vegas. That's when Fontana was commissioned to paint murals.
"Within the past five years, I've had the freedom to cater my business towards kids' rooms," Fontana says. "They're fun loud, creative, colorful and have a lot more lasting meaning behind them."
Fontana's mural work has appeared in commercial spaces as well. Her work also includes acrylic and oil paintings and on a recent trip to Greece and Italy she turned her photographs into collages. Fontana draws inspiration for her collages from hikes around the Pacific Northwest and says Bend is gorgeous.
"I like the medium because its renewable. I reuse materials and I'm not creating more," she says. "I use texture and color patterns to represent an image. It adds a whimsical touch to a photo—it's really a labor of love."
Fontana is now collaborating with Stereo Planet to paint the new Shepherd's House Women's & Children's shelter and says they think that adding a personal touch to the shelter will make people feel more at home.
Fontana's collages and prints will be featured and available for purchase at Lost Season Supply Company during First Friday in February.
5-9 pm, Friday, Feb. 5
Lost Season Supply Company
200 NE Greenwood Ave.