We had the good fortune of connecting with Jora Nelstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jora, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balancing my life, shifted quite a bit. A little over twenty years ago, most of my time went to raising my daughter, my freelance work as a script supervisor in the commercial film business, so it didn’t leave a lot of time for my art. Once my daughter started school, and now in college embarking a career in Art History, slowly the balancing my life with art became easier. Now with COVID-19 reaping havoc around the world and all my freelance work halted, I am shifting my in studio classes to virtual ones from my studio. I learned that balance is fluid and ever changing, the more flexible I can be, the more I can adjust it without much anxiety.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It feels like I’m walking the path I meant to walk. Although not always the easiest. At the age of 20, I moved to New York from the Netherlands with $300 in my pocket embarking on a modern dance career. I joined several dance companies, but also at times worked as a waitress and numerous odd jobs, just to make the rent. I painted on anything I could find, table cloths from my catering gigs, furniture I found on the street. Back then I used house paint and colored them with tints, for there was no money to spend on proper materials. All of that didn’t matter to me, as long as I could paint. Fifteen years later, after finishing my dance career, I moved to Los Angeles on request of my (dancer) friend Melinda, and walking around in the LA sun in January felt like the warm blanket I needed after the brutal NY winters. Painting 20 years outside in the back where I live, I now have my own studio which is totally awesome. My work has been shown in several galleries throughout Los Angeles and I still have 5 pieces up at the Whole9 gallery in Culver City. As a member of Gallery 825, where I have exhibited some of my Aluminum pieces, I also have a piece in their on line ‘Petite Work’ exhibit going on for three weeks. And I recently became a member of Woman Painter West. I feel very blessed, for now I can say that numerous businesses and collectors, in the US and Europe, own my art, in some cases up to eight pieces. For me it’s turning thoughts into realities by just doing it. Although the outcome is often not as expected, and at times it feels like sink or swim, the surprises can be truly insightful.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I feel like a tourist when friends and family come to visit. Looking through their eyes, I experience again all the wonderful sights Los Angeles has to offer. From The Getty Museum, LACME, The Underground museum. a small gallery in Culver City, the Whole9 Gallery where I have five pieces up in the Healing room. I still find it thrilling to pass under the short tunnel on the I-10W, and out of the bend, like magic, there is the Pacific Ocean, what a marvelous sight.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Shoutout goes to some wonderful woman whom without my life would not be as rich as it is. They helped me grow, untangled my thoughts, taught me patience, stood beside me, lend me their ear, took my hand, kept me calm, encourage me, supported me, made me laugh, shared some tears, shared their wisdom, touched my heart. My daughter Simone, my mom, my little sister Cassandra and my best friend Melinda.
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