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Barbara Nagel’s family moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles when she was two years old. Her interest in art became clear at the early age of five when she sculpted busts of both parents for an art school project. A few years later, Barbara was selling her hand-sculpted wax animal candles at the local flea market. Barbara earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA with a minor in Fine Art. Creating structures, shapes and designs led Barbara to pursue a second bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. “Studying and working in architecture provided a strong foundation for my continued love of sculpting” Barbara said. Following the loss of her husband at too young of an age and being left alone with her young son, Barbara decided life was too short to not pursue her passion. She joined a figurative sculpting class taught by renowned sculptor Marton Varo. Varo is a Transylvania Hungary- born artist and stone sculptor, well known for his public installations at Fort Worth Symphony Hall, Laguna Beach Museum of Art, University of California, Texas Christian University, as well as many other public displays throughout Europe and the USA. Barbara was encouraged to study stone carving in the small village of Pietrasanta, world famous for marble studios and bronze foundries. It was a big lifestyle change for Barbara and her five-year-old son, but nonetheless they packed their bags and moved to Italy where she became an apprentice stone
carver at the Claudio Palla Studio. Barbara said, “Stone carving provides a different perspective and freedom from the structure of architecture. There are no real structural constraints and I was free to create something unique.” In this move Barbara says her son was a trooper. “My son couldn’t speak a word of Italian, so I gave him a soccer ball to go into the piazzas to meet new friends. He was great.” Barbara’s first marble sculpture carved while in Pietrasanta. After returning home from her apprenticeship in Pietrasanta, Barbara started entering her work in juried shows, such as the Pageant of the Masters and San Diego Trees show, where she won 2nd place. Barbara’s artwork is also on display at he Long Beach Museum of Art, Women’s Pavillion of Hoag Hospital, Acacia Park-San Diego, Sheraton Hotel-Newport Beach, Sculpture Spaces-Fountain Valley, and Sheraton Grande-LaJolla. She has also performed solo shows at Myers Gallery, Studio Gallery amongst others. Barbara has created a stunning collection of figurative art, using contemporary lines, flowing curves and interpretive subjects. Each angle provides a different perspective, often with a sensual human connection. Barbara and her husband Georgie, together for 24 wonderful years, along with their three sons, live in Newport Beach California.