Nancy Pappas (@nkpcreate) is an illustrator and designer based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in providing creative solutions for hospitality, retail, and editorial clients. Beyond her artistic skills, Nancy is driven by her commitment to community and non-profit endeavors. Her creative process is enriched by her extensive travels, which have fostered connections, celebrated cultures, and embraced diverse cuisines. Nancy maintains a dedicated focus on empowering Black, Indigenous, and POC individuals, women, and businesses in the food industry, offering support for their ventures, publications, and projects.
We are delighted to partner with Nancy on two exciting Chefs for Impact projects: Our Olive Oil Dinner with Heraclea on Oct. 27th for which Nancy has designed our limited edition olive oil tin collaboration, and our FoodxArt show on Oct. 30th where Nancy will be showcasing her incredible designs for sale, fundraising for Chefs for Impact's youth programming.
Welcome Nancy to Chefs for Impact!
By Nancy Pappas as told to Chefs for Impact
What led you to choose food as your artistic “muse” so to speak?
I've always loved eating, and I'm naturally a very curious person. So, there was definitely a point where I started familiarizing myself and educating myself about the food I was consuming and enjoying. Food is incredibly diverse—the community, the culture, the ingredients, the techniques, and more. I never get tired of it; I'm always hungry for more, and it consistently inspires me.
You are passionate about sustainability and education, was there a catalyst that led to you becoming so involved in the non profit space?
I find great fulfillment in giving back. It's essential for me to reciprocate, express gratitude, and offer assistance to the communities and individuals that support me. I hold hope and optimism that my contributions will bring about positive change and provide assistance to those in need.
How do you believe artists can influence radical change in the sustainability space?
I strongly believe that artists can drive change through their creativity. People are often influenced visually, even if they don't label themselves as creative. This is especially evident for subjects like sustainability, which could appear intimidating or complex to understand; artists excel in making such subjects more accessible, relatable, and understandable. Art and design can effectively convey both strategic and logical elements while preserving their beauty and visual aesthetics. I am convinced that art has the power to alter perspectives, ignite inspiration, and foster meaningful conversations.
How do you believe food and art intertwine?
Food and art intersect by evoking emotions, telling stories, and reflecting cultural expressions. They individually and distinctively influence education and memories, while also engaging our senses in unique and meaningful ways.
What was the inspiration behind your limited edition illustrations for this collaboration?
The inspiration for my limited edition olive oil illustrations in this collaboration originated from the landscapes of Heraclea’s Turkish olive groves and Chefs for Impact’s agriculture and sustainability mission. I aimed to portray the organic nature of the olive stems using loose painterly strokes, highlighting how each branch is a unique work of art. Through the landscape, I sought to illustrate the evolving movement of generations, labor, and change that accompanies every harvest.
What do you hope people take away from the intersectionality of your work?
I hope that it brings them nourishment, calm, and joy. I aspire to evoke an appreciation and contemplation about the harmonious balance required to create such a staple of culinary culture and to inspire a greater awareness of the impact of our choices on the world around us. I hope that people perceive a deeper connection between nature, culture, and sustainability through my olive oil illustrations.
What does eating sustainably mean to you?
Choosing to eat sustainably means prioritizing both my well-being and the health of the planet. It entails opting for foods produced in environmentally conscious ways that also promote the well-being of animals, vegetation, and the people involved. I'm confident that the choices we make, no matter how small, have the power to create positive impacts on our communities and the planet, ultimately securing a more sustainable present and future.
What does your art symbolize to you? / What do you hope others feel after viewing your artwork?
My art symbolizes my innate inner creativity. My art serves as a canvas for my innermost thoughts and emotions. It encapsulates moments of introspection, bursts of creativity, and reflections on the world around me. Through it, I aim to create a space where viewers can immerse themselves, perhaps finding echoes of their own experiences or new perspectives. I hope that after viewing my artwork, others might experience a range of emotions — whether it's a sense of wonder, introspection, or even a spark of inspiration. It's my aspiration that my art can serve as a catalyst for self-reflection and conversation, forging connections between people and ideas. Ultimately, the meaning that someone derives from my work is deeply personal, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share this creative journey with others.