Editor’s Note: Kicks presents 20Q, a feature that introduces readers to people involved in the area’s arts and entertainment community. Compiled by kicks Editor Greg Little, each piece will include a short bio, photo and answers to questions that provide insight into not only that person’s artistic interests but also his or her unique personality.
Though dangerously temporary, chalk art has become all the rage for organizations and establishments looking for new ways to get the word out about special events and products.
As chief artist and owner of Chalk It Up to Nancy, Edgerton resident Nancy Platner has spent the last 10 years using her creative skill to help such groups stand out.
A 1977 graduate of Whitewater High School, Platner admits to having no formal training. Instead, she has honed her craft through countless hours of trial and error.
Despite her company’s name, Platner isn’t restricted to chalk as a medium. She also specializes in window painting, indoor and outdoor murals, painting children’s rooms and classrooms and, most recently, face painting.
Platner’s family includes her mother, Pat, and siblings Janet, Teta, Tim, Mary, Sue, Ann, Nic, Dik, Sam and Dan. She also has three sons (David, Blake and Max), four grandchildren (Kai, Connor, Grayson and Hanna) and two dogs (Biscuit and Lola).
To learn more about Platner, visit ChalkItUpToNancy.com or follow the business on Facebook.
1. How did you first discover your love for art? I have loved art for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I had every craft kit and art supply imaginable. Watercolors, sketch pads, Cray-pas, paint by number, tissue paper flowers, Incredible Edibles, Flower Power ... I had and did them all.
2. Who is your favorite artist? Peter Max is my favorite. I love all the groovy, paisley swirls and patterns.
3. Where do you get your creative ideas? Do customers usually have an idea of what they want, or do they rely on you to direct them? My ideas come from everywhere. I take lots of photos of things I see for future use. The amount of customer input is totally up to them. Most people will give me a seed of an idea, and I run with it. I like that.
4. Chalk art seems quite popular these days, but it’s delicate and easily erased. Does knowing your hard work can be gone in an instant take some of the joy out of creating it? I don’t ever think about that when I’m creating it. Sometimes when I go back to remove it, I get sad, but just for a second because I just make something else in its place. I always take pictures.
5. Name a skill you wish you had. I wish I had a Cricut (cutting machine) and knew how to use it.
6. Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction? I don’t actually get the opportunity to read the written word much anymore; I listen to books. I have been listening to a couple of self-care books, although not as often as I’d like. Thanks for the reminder.
7. What is your favorite board game and why? I don’t really play board games. But my grandkids do, so based on that I will say “Hi-Ho Cherry-O.”
8. Do you have formal training as an artist, or is it just something you’ve worked at for a long time? A little of both. In high school, I took every art class available. At Madison Area Technical College, I took some classes in ad layout and design and lettering. Throughout my life, I have always been creating art in one form or another.
9. Of all the work you’ve created, do you have a particular favorite? If so, where is it? My favorite would be the big American flag on the side of Whiskey Ranch in Janesville. That is the first mural I painted. I also painted a cement retaining wall to look like a stone wall at a friend’s house. That was a big challenge and really fun.
10. In your opinion, what is the true definition of art? Art is something that can be created by humans or nature. I feel a work of art is anything that brings joy to any of your senses.
11. What is your very favorite food? Anything vanilla. Ice cream, cake, cookies, frosting, coffee.
12. Would you say you are more of an introvert or extrovert? I am an introverted extrovert.
13. You own a business called “Chalk It Up To Nancy” where you offer murals, photo boards, chalk art, window art and more. What was the first piece of art you were contracted to do, and what led you to open your own business? My first contracted work was the chalkboard at the Red Baron in Edgerton. When owner Ilir Banushi purchased and remodeled the Red Baron, he added a HUGE chalkboard (30 feet by 5 feet). I change parts of the board every week. It is an ever-changing work of art.
14. What is the current wallpaper on your cellphone? What is the story behind it? It’s a photo of me and my mom. She is 92, and she spends her springs and summers at my house and her winters in Florida. She’s awesome.
15. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be? Seeing Whitney Houston sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV in 1991.
16. Are any other members of your family artistic, or did you get all of the talent in your bloodline? I have family members who are crafty, but not really artistic. One of my brothers is a musician, a singer and guitar player.
17. What was your first car? A blue Maverick Grabber. My dad traded in a black Mustang convertible for it just before I got my license.
18. Has there ever been a design you’ve been asked to create but wouldn’t, either because you didn’t feel you could do it well or because it was something you had strong feelings against? I can’t do caricatures. I’ve been asked to do caricatures for parties, but it is a talent I do not posses.
19. Are there any other artistic avenues (music, photography, cooking) that you’d like to explore that you haven’t already? Photography! There is a story to be told everywhere you look. I would love to be able to capture that in photos.
20. What are the tools of your trade as an artist? The things you couldn’t create without? My imagination and the internet. I am not able to rely on my memory to draw a tiger; I need to look at a picture of a tiger. I also look up different fonts to use and watch videos to learn other techniques. Every window I paint I do differently. I try to make each one unique.