Before Vera Wang became a national symbol for creativity and success, she was a talented and spirited fashion editor for Vogue magazine. In 1981 she began featuring a new face in her editorial pages. Today Wanakee Pugh credits Ms. Wang for a successful modeling career that took her around the world.
Wanakee appeared in advertisements and television commercials for such industry giants as Revlon, Clairol and Avon. She graced the covers of the top fashion magazines and, as an industry groundbreaker, she was interviewed by talk show icons Regis Philbin, Geraldo Rivera and Merv Griffin.
As a 20-year resident of New York City, Wanakee routinely visited her favorite spot--the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There she would view the museum as her classroom, and keen observation as her instructor. She began to decipher each work as a series of lines, shapes, shadows, highlights and colors. From Rembrandt to Fragonard, the pattern began to resonate from within.
For the self-taught artist, the defining moment that fueled her first trip to the art supply store occurred on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. An exhibit of the spectacular Hudson River School artists captured her imagination and compelled her to sit silently in the great hall, observing the grandeur through tears.
With new art supplies in hand, she began by executing studies of the Hudson River School masters. She quickly segued to original landscapes that beckoned the observer to take a closer step in. As her momentum for painting increased, her appreciation for different styles also began to mount. The contemporary art that she once overlooked suddenly became a fittng way to express a true sense of well-roundedness.
Wanakee's love of art, combined with her intuitive ability to create a beautiful living environment prompted her to offer art--by design. "It's true that not everyone has the ability to paint a picture, but everyone does have the ability to express what they'd like to see; the ability to convey an idea. I endeavor to follow through with that idea by creating art that is both individual and personal.
The art purist may commission a painting purely for the art's sake; while a designer will want to add impact to a room. I design art for both points of view. I was once told that I needed to pick one style of painting, to find my 'artistic voice.' I soon realized that being diverse is my artistic voice. It's heard clearly in the freedom to transverse from one painting style to another.
I find old world charm and contemporary edginess equally as exciting to paint. Painting the same style each time i pick up a brush would be like putting on the same clothes every time I dress. I love the surprise of discovering something new and different each time I walk away from a canvas."