A.centric Artist Profile: Nikki White.

November 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

Welcome to the A.centric artist profile. This time around, we are pleased to have Nikki White. She is currently an Art and Art History Major at UofT.

When did you start drawing and how often do you do it? Do you have specific drawing rituals or habits?

I have been drawing ever since I can remember. My early drawings consisted mostly of kittens and self-portraits. I still do a lot of self-portraits but more so with photography rather than drawing. My drawing habits generally involve drawing when inspiration strikes. I always draw sketches of what I want before I put a painting into production. For me drawing is usually the precursor to a painting. Sometimes though I will draw things that won’t be turned into paintings. I feel like I have much more control with a pencil than I do with a paintbrush. The fine details and control are what really attracts me to drawing.

A lot of your paintings contain references to films but you up the emo quotient until it starts to verge on the grotesque. What are you playing at?

When I get inspired I feel like I have to preserve that inspiration, that moment, or that feeling in my art. Therefore, when I reference something from film I am elevating its importance by painting it, and adding my own twist to show why it matters to me. An interesting concept to me is the idea of the grotesque. In order for something to be grotesque, there has to be a beauty and what makes up the ideas of each is very intriguing to me.

What do you wish your camera could do that it doesn’t seem willing to do?

I wish that in self-portraits, where I am really trying to express my inner self, I could have more control over the camera and see exactly what I’m doing. I am trying to show the viewer what I am afraid of, or feeling, and I want the viewer to feel it too.

You consistently work with water in your photographs. What does it offer to you and what do you want from it?

I wouldn’t say that I consistently work with water in photographs, but I do in the summer. In the summer I am free to shoot in outdoor pools and just be spontaneous with it. I don’t have a tripod for the underwater camera, so I always have at least one friend handy to model or just help out. Last winter I worked on my “Bathtub Series” which I shot indoors using bathtubs. Something that draws me to water is that it is usually experienced alone. By this I mean even if there are others present the water still makes the subjects isolated to a certain degree. So when I am shooting with water I am trying to capture that sense of isolation and of course I want the aesthetic look that water lends to its subjects.

What makes SpongeBob so wonderful?

Lots of things! I was obviously not a kid when SpongeBob came out but I watched it religiously daily while babysitting. SpongeBob (much like myself) never grows up and the show is hilarious. I love the hyper realistic close ups they do…imagine being the one to paint those, dream job!

In the painting I am currently working on, “The American Dream,” I am painting all my favourite cartoon characters from my childhood up until now. I’ve had this weird cycle where everything I loved as a kid has come back full circle to influence me today. I think that cartoons play a big role in shaping our identity whether they are from childhood or comics/TV shows we enjoy today. To keep updated on my American Dream painting and other works,  you can see the progress here.

If you are a student or alum of UofT and would like to take advantage of our weekly profile series to get your work seen, please send a few jpegs or a link to your work to this email address.

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§ 4 Responses to A.centric Artist Profile: Nikki White.

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