Neno V. Villamor has been sculpting and drawing since she was 13. A native Californian she began her art studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts. Several years of living on the East Coast and in the South increased her living experience plus exposure to some gifted art teachers creating a desire in her to continue her education. She returned to California to attend Humboldt State University where she continued in Ceramics, made a right hand turn into Metal-Smithing and received her BA in 1981. Later she would credential as an art instructor and teach Middle school and High school art for 13 years, some of that time as a Spectra Artist in various schools in Santa Cruz county. She has been living and working in Santa Cruz since 1993.
While searching for a less toxic material that she could use to teach her students sculptural techniques such as casting, she encountered paper as a medium. Since 1998 she has been working in Low Relief sculpture and casting her original images either as Low Relief (outwards) or Intaglio (inwards) in Multiple Original Editions of handmade paper. She creates her own blend of Abaca and Hemp fiber paper in her home studio in Soquel, CA. She adds light fast pigments to the normally white paper pulp to add a sense of atmosphere and in more recent work has started creating castings with multiple strips of colors to emulate the feel of landscapes. After the image is cast and dried, she enhances her images with various applications of water media and collage for emphasis through color and textures.
Exploring movement in the human and animal figure has always driven Neno’s artwork. Dance especially informs her subject matter and her eventual involvement in the African dance community of Santa Cruz would lend its energy, color and rhythm to her images. An exploration of what it means to be female, Neno also strives to depict women in all their forms: young and old, small and large, at rest and filled with tension. Her deep connection to the natural world embeds the figure into land and seascapes.