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About the Artist - Denny Nkemontoh

When I was very young I wanted to be a “belly dancer”. (My mother insists I meant “ballet”.) As I grew older, I wanted to be a teacher and a journalist. I wanted to travel to and live in foreign countries. Art was never on my list.

I studied English and Journalism, Folklore and Theology. I taught overseas in Cameroon, West Africa, in South Central L.A., and in the greater Portland area. I supported myself as a journalist and writer. I traveled to Great Britain, Europe, Ukraine, Cameroon, Hong Kong, and China. While I never became a dancer, if I were to dance, it would definitely be belly dancing instead of ballet.

As much as I have enjoyed the adventure of my life, art became something that I have gravitated towards, as a woman in the desert yearns for water to revive her. In the midst of every day life, art has been therapy to me. It has brought me great joy.

Trial and error have been my art teachers. I’ve dabbled in many mediums before finding the two that bring me the greatest satisfaction: mosaic and photography.

In making mosaic images, I get to play with colors and textures. I love to mix mediums – glass, ceramic, rocks, smalti, stained glass and found objects. I can start with a blank slate and let the art develop itself, piece by piece, or I can plan ahead. I’ve begun to see the world in terms of mosaics. I look at beautiful dishes and wish I could break them! I visualize concepts and stories as mosaics. It has become an obsession that has transformed the way I experience life.

My other love is photography. There is something about viewing things through the lens of a camera that catches things not seen by the naked eye. Things there but hidden: the little bugs on a flower, the statement made by a field of wheat, the wistful look in a young girl’s eyes…

I hope you will enjoy my gallery of mosaic and photographic images.


Denny Nkemontoh