Nikki Georgia K. has a beautiful spirit to match her transcendent art. Somewhere between her indescribable talent and tactical use of dirty paint water, she seems to embody the beautiful complexities in the world of an artist. Lucky me to be able to pick her brain and share her infectious passion for creation along with her work.
Tell me a bit more about Nikki Georgia K.
I was born in Queens, NY – grew up in Long Island. I’m 50% Greek and 50% el Salvadorian. I mostly grew up in an upper middle class suburban town, although we were originally poor. There was one moment where my parents had to file for bankruptcy. I remember not getting anything for Christmas that year and feeling like I wasn’t good enough.
When did you begin creating art?
I was probably 3 or 4 years old when I started. I remember when I first got my Fisher Price easel. I didn’t have many friends as a child. I was a quiet kid, but I’m not sure why. I barely spoke to anyone, not even my family. I guess art was my voice in some ways.
I see a lot of grace and movement in your work and it is very detailed. Where does the motivation for that come from?
I love those moments in life. Quick but brief grace, like an exhale of a cigarette or a ballerina spinning. An instant you want to pause. Life moves fast but I think it’s those in between moments that make it beautiful. I want to make people feel the way that music makes you feel. Like listening to the right song and feeling okay or at least not feeling so alone.
I love your depictions of ballerinas and Audrey Hepburn – who also did ballet. It’s a beautiful and subtle connection. Was that purposely done? Do you try to stick to a theme for your art?
I don’t necessarily pick a theme. Ballerinas inspire me because of their beauty and grace. As a child, I remember always wanting to be a ballerina. Instead, I had to go to Greek dancing school. I suppose the ballerina paintings are me re-living a dream.
What are some of your other creative inspirations?
Music inspires me. I like to listen to jazz or classical music while painting but also anything that feels right at the time. Folk songs, songs that make you think and feel. There are so many artists that inspire me Dali, Klimt, Frida. There is also a lot of new great work. Easo Andrews is amazing, as well as Greg “Craola” Simkins to name a few.
There are so many amazing and talented artists out there and I see new work every day just walking to the subway. I love New York for that. It’s forever changing and growing. My mind is constantly stimulated by either amazing artwork, new friends, other artists, musicians, writers, graffiti – even just human interactions or an old building that I never noticed.
Speaking of graffiti, what are your thoughts on graffiti art murals?
I think the word graffiti gets a bad rap. I’ve seen some of the most amazing artwork on walls. It’s truly such an amazing thought. Free art for everyone to see.
New York is an exceptional place and Brooklyn is the type of city that’s full of creative expression. How do you feel the city has influenced your artistic style?
I’m not sure if Brooklyn influenced my style but it definitely drives me and inspires me. I paint every day. I think it’s the hustle of New York that drives me to never give up. Even if the L train is delayed and you end up with a 2-hour commute that was supposed to be 30 minutes, you just gotta keep going.
Can you go more into detail about your creative technique and process, including some of the tools and materials you like to use?
I have hundreds of images saved and magazine cutouts. I guess my apartment is an inspiration board in itself. I begin with my emotion and sort of let that do the work. My process is a bit skewed. I tend to destroy my paintings. There’s a beauty in destroying it.
I work with mostly acrylics. You can see a lot of faded grays and drips, because at some point or another, I will take my biggest brush dripping with dirty paint water and just glide it across the canvas. It frees me and allows me to rediscover the painting in a new way. It also makes me feel immensely during the painting process. I think true emotions make art real.
How did you learn your craft? Were you self-taught or formally educated?
I was self-taught. I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember. I think if I keep painting every day, I can only get better and learn more about myself. I did, however, go to school for two semesters in San Francisco to study textile design. But I was still painting every day. I don’t think I’ll ever stop painting but that’s the point. If you do what you love then no time is wasted.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
That’s a hard question to answer. Each of my paintings were quite moments with just me and the canvas. It’s true and real and without words. Some emotions cannot be put into words. Each of my paintings, I had close moments with. Loving it, hating it, crying, laughing, stoned, whatever. My paintings are a part of me. They are like my child, something I put so much of my soul into. You can’t pick a favorite.
From painting to specialty cakes, you have a wide range of talents. I’d love to know more about your work space where you create?
I live in an artist loft in Bushwick. I have three roommates and a little runt cat named Piper. She acts more like a dog and meows like a bird. My room is the size of my bed. Literally that’s all that can fit in it – with a small end table. It’s cozy in its own weird way.
The loft itself is big, high ceilings with random pipes throughout. It’s an old building but it has its charm. I can hear my neighbor’s band practice from my bathroom. The kitchen is painted turquoise, with one wall that me and a friend collaborated on. The living room is the only room with a window to the outside world. I’m pretty sure that’s not actually legal, but the roof is what sold me on the place.
The view of Manhattan is something else. It’s covered in tags and graffiti and there is a man in the building across from me that owns a pigeon coup. It’s quite magical. He comes out with a bag on a stick and swings it around then the birds begin to fly in a synchronized dance. It is really something else.