Interview with Artist, Nicci Sevier-Vuyk

Candy Totem, Licorice Allsorts

The minute I laid my eyes on Nicci Sevier-Vuyk’s candy totems I was in love.  Licorice Allsorts, Necco Wafers and Love Hearts are amongst some of my favourite candies to devour like EVER.  Even if you do not have my sweet tooth don’t worry Nicci’s work has something for everyone. Including, her magnificent chrysanthemum sculptures that float freely on the wall once they are completed.  They are totally exquisite with the big flopping petals poised for pure elegance.   For a closer look at Nicci’s work please check out the following links: http://artnsv.com, https://www.instagram.com/nicciseviervuyk/ and https://www.facebook.com/artnsv/ .  Nicci truly is a one of a kind kindred artist. 

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked if yes how did you overcome your block? 

NSV: I don’t really get creative block. I feel like I have so much I want to do, especially creatively, and not nearly enough time to do it. I have lots of ideas (I keep in a book) that I want to work on for the future. If anything, I feel an internal pressure to hurry and create!

RMMW: Do you have any artists rituals before starting a new piece?

NSV: No, but I do feel a wonderful buzz in my brain when starting a new piece. It feels like some kind of creative cocktail that tastes delicious.

RMMW: What inspires your delightful Candy Totems?

NSV: My work in is driven by my desire to explore the meaning of appearance and beauty in our culture. The Candy Totems are an extension of that theme. I adore creating still life paintings of delightful appearing candy that creates a promise of perfection which is often in conflict with the reality of the experience. The Allsorts are a wonderful example of this…a wonderfully colorful, tempting candy, but it all tastes like licorice! I remember being excited to try this candy for the first time, but then I was surprised and disappointed as I truly do not care for licorice!! I suppose I strive for a feeling of ironic nostalgia in my work.  

RMMW: What Women Artists do you admire and why?

NSV: One of favorite artists right now is Susannah Montague (https://www.susannahmontague.com). She is a prolific sculptor and creates playful, bizarre and whimsical pieces, often using baby doll forms to create an ironic tension.

I am also pretty enchanted by Ashley Longshore (https://www.ashleylongshore.com). I admire her wild enthusiasm, fondness for profanity and disregard for social niceties, as well as her paintings of iconic American culture subjects, usually with something unexpected added in. I want to embrace art and business in the authentic way that Ashley does, but in my own style.

Kelly Reemtsen (http://www.kellyreemtsen.com) is a wonderful artist who paints women in high fashion clothing and accessories while welding traditionally masculine tools. Her work is a wonderful demonstration of great art that makes a social statement. She inspires and delights me. 

RMMW: What is the inspiration behind your beautiful flower sculptures?

NSV: My chrysanthemum sculptures are in keeping with my purpose of exploring the meaning and ideas surrounding appearance and beauty in our culture. In this sculptural series I create wall mounted chrysanthemums that are unruly and asymmetrical. Our society often rewards perceived perfection and flowers are certainly judged based on typical standards of beauty (e.i. symmetry, uniformity, etc.). I have grown and loved chrysanthemums for many years now, although I cannot say that I am very good at it. However, I find that the flowers produced in my garden are very beautiful and make wonderful models for my sculptures and paintings. I am particularly drawn to the more unusual looking blooms.

home grown chrysanthemums
 
RMMW: What are the petals made from and how do you put them together?

NSV: The chrysanthemum sculpture are made of EVA foam sheets, which I cut into pieces, score, and then color treat to make the petals. I then heat and shape the petals, and glue (hot glue) them onto a 3D printed ball. When I am attaching the petals, I begin with the inner most petals and work outward from there. I typically vary the color treatment of the petals so that the smaller, inner petals have a darker hue than the outer petals. The ball has a mounting system in place on the back which allows for flush mount hanging once the piece is complete.

Shimmer V, 2019 
 RMMW: What is your favourite medium to create in?

Luster VII, 2019
NSV: That is a bit difficult to answer. I truly enjoy both painting and my form of sculpting. I suppose painting is my favorite; if it has been too long since I’ve painted, I get a strange longing feeling reminding me how much I love painting. Sculpting is time consuming but fun.

RMMW: What do you feel contemporary artists struggle with most?

NSV: I think some artists struggle with the concept that being an artist is a business meant to generative income so that the artist can thrive. I think the mindset of the past has been that artists cannot sell directly to collectors and that they cannot benefit too much from the sale of their work (starving artist myth). I feel that this attitude is slowly changing with the advent of the internet and in particular, social media. I feel artist have more control over their own careers than they ever have- it’s an exciting time to be an artist!

RMMW: Are you a classically trained Artist or did you learn on your own?

NSV: I have taken a number of art classes at a local art school, The Glassell School of Art. I am an avid learner and have taught myself much of my art skill by doing what I love.

RMMW: What role do you feel the artist plays in our society?

NSV: I believe artists are teachers, communicators and rebels. I think artists can help reveal emotions, deepen meaning and inspire. Artists are necessary members of any society.

RMMW: What is your favourite work created by you? 

NSV: My favorite series of work Efflorescence: The Beauty of Imperfection, which includes my chrysanthemum themed work. I have other projects and series and yet always come back to painting or sculpting the chrysanthemum. The chrysanthemum is a wonderful combination of line, shape and color, and for me it is symbolic of a rejection of the standard definitions of beauty; I am drawn to the chrysanthemum as a subject again and again.

RMMW: What your favourite art piece created by you?

NSV: My absolute favorite piece is Restless Harmony. This sculpture is hanging in my bedroom. I love it!

Restless Harmony, 2018





 

RMMW: If you had a super power what would it be?

NSV: Hmmmm…super speed is pretty tempting, but I believe I would prefer super healing ability as my super power…although flying sounds sooo cool! When I was a kid I used to dream that I could fly and then when I woke I was so disappointed to discover I couldn’t. 

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