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Check out Nancy Tokos’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Tokos.

Nancy, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Arts District resident portrait artist since 2012, Nancy Tokos, working artist studio in Barracks 14, 2770 Historic Decatur Road, is a small jewel next to the great big Liberty Public Market. Her passion is being the Inaugural Curator for the art exhibit inside Liberty Public Market.  Referred to as ART & Liberty Public Market, it was established March 2016, with the support of Blue Bridge Hospitality restaurateur, David Spatafore and General Manager, Josh Zanow. Tokos is an American Impressionist artist. Nancy’s creative background involved managing large spaces, unknown to the marketplace General Manager when he first asked her about exhibiting her art. One morning, Zanow knocked on her studio door, introduced himself as the General Manager and then asked if she would like to be Liberty Public Market’s first featured artist.  In retrospect, Tokos muses this may have been a good neighbor gesture of an olive branch. You see, the conversion from the 1943 Mess Hall into the 25,000SF marketplace with over 30 artisan vendors involved nearly eleven months of construction dust and jack hammering right next to Tokos’ art studio.

Tokos could only see this as a great ground floor opportunity for all the 2nd floor Liberty Station artists who never saw much footfall. Within months, TOKOS grew the ART! Exhibit from 1 then to 3 Liberty Station artists to over 100 San Diego artists.  With over 70 NEW works of art every 6 weeks, local artists could showcase and sell their art. It is one of the largest walking indoor art exhibit open 7 days a week. Thanks to Blue Bridge Hospitality management, this art exhibit continues to be free from rent & commissions and completely volunteer (non-profits are not involved). Struggling Liberty Station artists enjoy exposure to 5,000-10,000 marketplace visitors every week.  Nobody supports the Arts better than Liberty Public Market. They have generously integrated their artist neighbors into the bustling and wildly popular marketplace.

What led Tokos to the prime location in Liberty Station?  In a few words: dumb luck! Liberty Station management offered Tokos the smaller studio as a nice quiet area where she could park her classic car right underneath a north light window (every artist wants to work with north light!)  Little did she know the blueprint plans to develop San Diego’s first marketplace were well underway! Within weeks, bulldozers replaced her parked car and breathed new life into the charming, but low-traffic Liberty Station.

Annual population served is over 300,000 guests. ART! & Liberty Public Market exhibit has been well received and successfully integrated into the community.  It has given a refreshing creative narrative by using blank walls for original art right next to artisan food vendors. The unique stand out is helping the emerging artist and not taking commission.  

Prior to going full time as a fine artist, Tokos’s career is highlighted with hundreds of clients during a 30 year broadcast career in Los Angeles. (Walt Disney Imagineering, NBC4 Los Angeles,  FOX, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, KCBS2 Los Angeles and numerous committees with the Emmys including 2-term Board of Governors). Memberships include Directors Guild of America, ATAS, Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society and San Diego Portrait Society.  

Nancy resides with her husband, Jonathan, in Pacific Beach overlooking the ocean.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Tokos enjoys the return to classic arts and standing in front of her easel with an oil paint brush after 30 years designing television graphics.  She is rewarded with happiness when talking to aspiring artists. Her favorite quote, after all these years, remains: Luck is hard work that bumps into opportunity.  Curating the big art exhibit inside Liberty Public Market is a great creative opportunity for the local artist while building a stronger more vibrant San Diego arts community.  

Inquiries to exhibit your art

Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The biggest challenge facing the San Diego artist today is finding affordable space to develop their art.  The second biggest challenge facing the San Diego artist today is exhibiting their art rent & commission free. The management at Liberty Public Market generously supports of the arts culture in San Diego.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
TOKOS WORKING ARTIST Studio (next to Liberty Public Market)
2770 Historic Decatur Road
Studio 104
San Diego CA 92106

Monday-Friday 10:00AM – 3:00PM
By chance or
By appointment

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jonathan Boreham

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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