Friday, December 21, 2012


Untitled, acrylic on linen, 24" x 18", 2012

What are you working on in your studio right now?

Specifically some things for the La Art Book Fair in February and a pop-up project so to speak here in Baltimore. I am always working, whether it is for an actual project/show or just working. Everything is riffing off itself. I do this to get to this and that to get to that; the collage work is in between actual painting and drawing goes on all the time. In general my work has been dealing with it’s own scale and size.

Can you describe your working routine?

Coffee, incense.…I tend to do work right when I get up in the late a.m. after brewing some joe and that means being in the studio, looking over work from the night before (or trashing it), maybe taking some pictures to chill myself out about the nocturnal atrocities. Late night I do much of the work, even if I am using my satellite studio (24 hour fedex-kinkos). I guess the combination of overworked senses really pushes me and I don’t have to worry about any appointments or text messages etc. I would consider myself of thee nocturnal markmaking variety.

Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?

Greatly so. Space limitation dictates the size of work and it is something I try to make my work about. Conceptually as a vantage and window. I would never want my work to look or act different than the place it is made, if I have a huge space I would make huge work most certainly and if my space were to become smaller I would make smaller work. This seems like a (one of many) concern for artists working right now and I think it can help an artist develop and in turn open more opportunities where you allow yourself to flourish within limitations, especially of your studio or space.


Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
Usually I am always drawing. The drawing helps me to just always be working and I couldn't function without drawing every day, as lame as that sounds. But to just work things out and doing something over and over is really important and internal to my practice/process. I suppose I can’t stress how important it is to have a few different “surfaces” going on that activate each other literally and figuratively. For instance with some relief type “paintings” I end up using them to produce rubbings or relief prints before I may paint on them. This is like a very easy understanding of how my work is in constant dialogue with itself.

What are you having the most trouble resolving?
The tired but true notion of something immediate. How to translate the hand that is evident in my drawing onto the canvas and or painting. What I deem suitable to be painted and not painted. Sometime something so called successful as just a simple drawing but when translated to painting fails miserably. That failure though is really what it is all about and resolving is sort of the process. You know I resolve to not succeed in a general way. Also dealing with my photographic interventions of my studio and documentation of work itself which feeds into my studio's dialogue. I try to approach the camera like a drawing utensil, not to get too burdened with a perfect image or a good painting, it just sort of happens and is already there so to speak. I suppose I do have some kind of setups but since they involve studio debris I can poke fun at the studio and myself. In general though I hope to never resolve anything or else it wouldn't much of a challenge or uphill journey. . .
But I guess I am having trouble resolving a horizontal painting, but who isn’t? 

Installation @ Sophiajacob 2012

Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?

Parameters are indeed set and very important to my practice and within those parameters there is rich variation. I use a simple set up of acrylics, mediums, general hardware (caulk, epoxy) and leftover prints/xeroxes from projects and books/zines. Recently I have been interested in even more semi found surfaces, rather than your normal old paper but material that is art historically charged (particularly phone book pages which are directly speaking to F. Kline...) and materials given to me by colleagues or ransacked from life drawing classrooms. I utilize xerox machines and a large format home printer for my graphic and collage work so I am constantly exploiting different parameters in this technology which is how I approach my painting as well within my simple pallette.

I have mockingly described my paintings as grisaille to cohorts.

What does the future hold for this work?

An honest response to this is that I don't necessarily consider a future for much of this work, or my work in general. . .I mean I don't want to have to consider the future of a work because that sort of pressure would cause me to not want to make it but just making it and the process is what really holds me in my practice. But sure, I would hope to present for instance, these collage works in some sort of setting, either individually or in a small grouping in some kind of group show/presentation. I like to imagine that the sort of surface driven and collage works would be this other look into my ventures and practice so they would be viewed and considered alongside other more straightforward painting work or my book work.

Untitled, acrylic on linen, 24" x 18", 2012
Is there anything else you would like to add?


  1. Nik is a fantastic artist - and even more, an amazing person! The Fall!?!?!?! O man!!!!