Born to revolutionary hippies in 1974, Nell Hergenrather spent her early years living on one of the most famous and successful communes of that era, the Tennessee Farm. In the eighties her family moved to sunny California in search of organized education and financial freedom. Always ready to defy convention, her parents pulled Nell and her three brothers out of school as teenagers and traveled the world on a shoestring for over a year. Even then, at the tender age of 14, Nell knew she wanted to be an artist. In a special meeting with the Dalai Lama, she received his blessing along with a Tibetan name, Tenzin Yangkyi. He described yang as something beautiful—energy and vitality combined, and kyi as something always in the throws of life—moving from birth to death in a graceful dance, not with sadness but joy.
Nell received her formal art training at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she primarily worked with oil on canvas. For the last few years Nell has been sculpting and creating molds using cutting edge, often indestructible, materials to create plants, landscapes, cityscapes, and underwater worlds with a futuristic space age design. Recently, humanistic bird and fish characters have appeared in her paintings. These are lifelong images for her; a way of accessing the figurative. Where her plants are the seductive fruits of Eden, she sees these animals as a harsh reality of everyday humanity. Presently, two themes predominate: cynicism—living the façade of the good life—and disillusionment—the poisoned places so often disguised and then marketed to mainstream America.
But despite these growing concerns, art is her meditation, her search of balance and perfection. Nell's work continues to evolve, with maturity and motherhood, bringing a truly unique perspective and style to the art market. Nell lives with her husband and three daughters in Sebastopol, California.