Roy Nydorf in Hawaii

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Guilford’s beloved drawing and printmaking professor, Roy Nydorf, will be in Hawaii this coming week, but not for vacation. Roy has an artist-in-residency at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. It will be hosted in conjunction with the University’s opening of the “2011 International Invitational Works on Paper Exhibition” on November 30th.

Roy is a native of New York. Both of his parents were artists—his mother primarily in ceramics and sculpture and his father predominantly in painting and drawing. He knew he wanted to make art his career by his first semester of college. While Roy has been at Guilford over thirty years, he studied at The Art Student’s League of New York and the State Universities of New York at Albany and at Brockport, and he received his MFA with honors from Yale.

One of Roy’s best friends from graduate school is on the faculty at The University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Roy helped curate a show there 25 years ago, so that connection sparked this opportunity for him. The art he sent them spans about 15 years of work, all large scale lithographs and etchings, since that is the focus of the 8-artist November 30th show.

Roy cited some of his major influences as Rembrandt, Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, traditional West African sculpture, and the art of the Haida culture (the indigenous people of British Columbia and Alaska). When asked how he would describe his artistic style, Roy said, “It’s based on the figure; it’s representational and expressionist. In the last ten years I think my work has gone more inward, and maybe is embracing myth over outer reality.” Roy studies cats and other animals somewhat frequently, explaining: “I like the pattern of the fur, the texture, the animation, their poses. I have pet cats so they’re part of my domestic setting. I also do a lot of birds and things in my environment.” He also finds the movement and cultural symbolism of snakes interesting.

Roy admits that finding the energy to be productive as an artist can be challenging when teaching full-time, but also notes that teaching can inform his studio work (depending on his students’ “passion and level of involvement”). Sadly, though, these time commitments aren’t leaving much time for his musical career. Roy is also a classically trained violist and experienced R&B and Jazz drummer.

After his trans-pacific tour, Roy will have a retrospective solo exhibit at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art on April 19th of this coming year. Students are encouraged to go, and to talk to Roy about his work themselves.

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