Painting Poetry

The University of Arizona Poetry Center has been celebrating its 50th anniversary by highlighting some of its ongoing programs. September will showcase artwork by Maja Nostrant.

Nostrant began painting at the age of 17, and was raised in an artistic family. Her father, Frank Franklin, was a painter and a carpenter; her mother, Anna Franklin, created dolls and marionettes. Nostrant is known mostly for her oil paintings, but also creates block prints and old-fashioned children's toys.

She also did acrylic paintings during her three pregnancies. Further evidence of Nostrant's artistic skill and breadth of interest is that she carves her own frames.

"From a very young age I was always surrounded by art," she says. "When I was a young girl I would paint to pass the time, and I always enjoyed doing it. I didn't realize at that point that it was going to grow into something much more, but I am happy to be able to share my artwork."

When the young Nostrant was scolded, her punishment was to sit down and paint. She probably never expected that her punishments would teach her how to become a respectable artist.

"I would stay painting for hours," she says. "Even when my punishment was over, I would stay sitting down to paint."

Nostrant also traveled through Mexico with her family, and spent summers with relatives in Iceland. Her Icelandic grandparents were no strangers to talent when it came to art.

Her grandfather was widely known for his beautiful landscape paintings, which were mostly oil-based. Her grandmother, on the other hand, was a seamstress and a design-shop owner.

"I spent my summers in Iceland helping my grandmother babysit, and she also taught me how to seamstress," Nostrant says.

At the exhibit, Nostrant will be showcasing 18 of her paintings, which can be purchased at prices ranging from $300 to $17,000. When asked her main inspiration while creating her paintings, Nostrant replies that her daughter brings her motivation and inspiration.

"I do not favor one painting over the other because I believe each of the paintings are unique in their own special way," she says. "I do a lot of paintings that have women and young girls, and I also landscapes."

She will be at the art exhibit to meet people and answer questions about her art on display or her past work.

However, Nostrant is not the only individual that is excited for the art exhibit.

Annie Guthrie, from The University of Arizona Poetry Center, believes that Nostrant's artwork fits perfectly with the 50-year anniversary.

"We thought Maja's work fit in extremely well because of the Southwest landscapes, vibrant colors and the reflection of her Icelandic/Hispanic heritage in her paintings. We are honored to be able to showcase her work," says Guthrie. "We will also have a library exhibition of books in translation and a tri-lingual reading that can be enjoyed by everyone."

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