Nanette Hatzes is a multimedia artist. “That’s because I have a short attention span,” she says. As a painter and photographer, Hatzes is motivated by what’s in front of her. There’s a solitary moodiness to her work which is strongly woman based.
A painting and visual arts major in college, Hatzes took a photography course and was swept away by taking pictures. She changed her major and started taking pictures of women. “I love men and I’m married, but women are beautiful and interesting to photograph.”
After graduating from college Hatzes had to drop photography because she couldn’t afford it. Years later she got her first digital camera and took a photograph of her daughter who is her main muse. “When I looked at that photo, I realized that I wanted to get back into photography. One of the reasons I stayed away was because of the chemicals.”
“I got back to it and found a representative. Although I only had that one photo to show him, I told him I could do a whole show of women.” Thus the Goddess project was born. “I put the word out and women commissioned me to photograph them. People’s faces are fascinating to me and I wanted to capture them. I showed the photos around the community and the whole show was sold before it was even up. That was in 2002. I just had the second show – and it sold out within two weeks. People wanted to be part of it. I was looking for goddesses and they came out of the woodwork.” Hatzes spends a lot of time selecting the costumes and sets in order to create photographs that reflect the goddess in each woman. She gets to know them really well and talks about it as bonding experience.
“My guarantee is no money passes hands until everyone is happy. It’s amazing how negative [people can] feel about themselves in front of a camera. I had to ask one woman if she was angry. It turned out that she was trying to get pregnant, a difficult process. She talked about that a little bit. We got it out of the way and I was able to get a really good shot. She said it felt a little sad. It’s not the happy face show – it’s the how do you feel now. It’s accessible… letting go of the mask of anger and connecting with the sadness.”
In 2004 Hatzes was diagnosed with Parkinson’s because of a tremor she initially thought was caused by weed whacking. After a medical consult she was able to make the connection with exposure to chemicals earlier in her life. Her former house also sat in an apple orchard that was regularly sprayed with pesticides.
“I’m lucky because it’s been a long time and my tremor and symptoms haven’t gotten that much worse. I mean, they have, but it’s so slow. I ride my bike, paint. [PD] affects my right hand, but when I’m working I brace my hand against something or sometimes hold my hand with my other hand. I have pretty good motor skills. I’m on Parkinson’s meds and if I don’t take them, I shake everywhere.
“I was highly motivated before [PD] and now I’m a maniac. Time is finite and I haven’t gotten the best painting I’ve ever done, done yet. I haven’t learned all I need to learn about painting, so I’m going to be taking a painting course. I work all the time. I probably paint 8 hours a day.” “In the end,” Hatzes says, “the metaphor for having PD is like “someone stuffed in the trunk of my car, beating on [it] every once in a while.”
You can view Nanette Hatzes’ work at http://www.hatzes.net/