Art Chat with Jeremy Nichols
What was it about Portland that made you fall in love and decided to call this city home? How has living in the Pacific Northwest shaped your creativity?
This place was a major change from living in Columbus, Ohio. After visiting here a few times, the easy access to nature, the nice people, and food sold me on the idea of living here. Creatively, I’ve changed a lot since Ive been here. I’ve taken a more relaxed approach to my work, where I try to spend as much time as possible on each piece, as opposed to knocking out a ton of work all at once. Not to mention, I switched from paintings to working strictly with graphite and ink work.
Your work for Straight Outta Portland is a striking blend of architectural design and natural patterns. Tell us about the inspiration behind this piece.
My work in “Straight Outta Portland” is a part of a larger body of work, where I try to explore the beauty, energy, balance, and harmony of the chaos in our environment. Growing up, going back and forth from Japan to america, I never felt comfortable anywhere, and more so where to call home. So, I try to reflect on this alienating feeling when I approach my artwork. I try to create something that contains fragments of recognizable patterns or textures, and layer them so they turn into this alien growth or world. I want to present something that may or may not be familiar to the viewer. I want viewers to see it as a foreign “alien” cluster, and take their own visual journey through the details. I want to take the viewer somewhere unfamiliar, much like how I felt as a kid growing up, not understanding the “normal” environment around me.
Tell us about your process. How does a work evolve from conception to completion?
Usually, I start by trying to capture a very general sense of how the flow, and movement with some scribbles. Slowly from there, I focus on small areas of the entire piece, and let it grow. So, in a sense, I also take a little journey from one little corner, to the next and the next until I feel there is a balance and harmony with in each little fragment of the piece.
If you could hang only one artwork from art history in your home or studio, what would it be and why?
Although I have yet to see any of his sculptures in person, I think I would love to see, Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini in my living room. I’ve always been amazed by stone sculptures, I just can’t wrap my head around how they are done with such precision, and detail. They are so smooth, and perfect. And Bernini’s fabric details just blows me away. . .
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't necessarily know.
Hmmmm. I have a napping problem. I fall asleep a lot more than a normal person.In fact I have avoided driving cars, as I have the tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. . . I might have a slight narcoleptic problem. . .
If I were to spend the day with Jeremy, what could I expect?
My days typically start out with hanging out with my zoo (2 dogs and 2 cats) while drinking a gallon of coffee, then maybe get lost in the woods, or take a nap, or maybe sit in my tiny shoe box of studio, or maybe drink some beers and watch trains roll bye.