Creative Art Design

Nikkeya Gray

Artist Statement

If you want to see more recent works, browse my Portfolio.

My love for creating is rooted deeply in a child like curiosity. Growing up, I sketched everything I could see around me. However, I have been dependent on a lens to see what is in front of me for most of my life. This obstacle has been most influential in how I view my surroundings as well as in the way I approach the creative process. I have turned this obstacle into inspiration by investing in tools that allow me to see things better, to capture, and to revisit my observations. Through the use of a camera, a microscope, and the many capabilities of digital media, I have a limitless amount of resources available to help me interpret and manipulate the beauty I see in the world.

As a printmaker, I am a problem solver that is able to compromise and adapt quickly to the medium and its stubborn unpredictability. The very nature of printmaking is what gives it a unique voice and personality. Pass or fail, I learn the most from situations in which I am able to remain responsive to the process. Hand pulling a print can be just as variable as the developing stages of the image itself. The variables further enhance the uniqueness of each print. That is what I love about it. Printmaking is rich in historical influence from the first books available to the public, to the early days of advertising and the industrial revolution. It continues its influence today with the growing increase of social media. This is why I have also explored various avenues of graphic design and its ever changing technology.

Print, in both the traditional and the digital sense, have also heavily influenced the way I handle paint. The work has progressed into a highly experimental mixed media approach that attempts to push the limits of the materials themselves. I have tested the thresholds of acrylic by mixing in and dripping materials that were never intended for the medium. Solvents, salts, organics and found objects are left in the paint causing it to move and break up. The application of heat and air cause the paint to move and mix naturally creating layers of texture that are then enhanced with both hand tools and power tools. The surface is built up until it resembles the surface of an etching or a collagraph plate. This surface becomes the ground that I will then begin to paint over with oils. Digital painting and photography have given me insight into the potential of overlaying layers and the multiplication of forms that merge together and create new forms. Various ways of trapping and isolating certain areas of texture push back the space around these forms creating a sense of depth as it plays with the figure to ground relationship.

Through each application, my concepts gain new unique attributes as they morph back and forth, presenting my imagination with something entirely new to work with. Each exploration creates new knowledge and new ideas. This progression allows me to fully investigate the potential of each project. I am not obsessed with a direct intent or a clear vision of an end result and welcome the flaws and hiccups that emerge along the way. Man is not a machine; we must make mistakes. It is the way we are rationally able to adapt and overcome the obstacles that makes us human. This is why I rely on instinct and lose myself to the process. As it changes, so do I. To be successful in my pursuit, I must remain responsive and patient, dedicate myself to the work, and persevere through undoubted failure.

Artist Bio

Born and raised on the western slope, most of my childhood was spent curiously wandering the vast landscapes that surrounds the area. I am fascinated with the rich history recorded in the rocks showing the combination of constant natural and chemical processes that have shaped western Colorado and eastern Utah. A graduate from Colorado Mesa University with a BFA in Studio Arts and a Minor in Graphic Design, I am an artist that visually merges the micro and macro world with technical processes both old and new.

My body of work in both print making and painting, combined with photography and graphic design, exhibits my constant curiosity, eye for beauty, and process oriented creativity. The work plays with scale and its infinite measure, displaying microscopic surroundings in detail that allow the viewer to see the beauty in unnoticed details. Stripping away common day context, spit bubbles, bug wings, and neurons become planets, intricate webs, and cavernous spaces.

In painting, I respond instinctively to the process. Experimentation, transparency and constant addition and subtraction of material creates layers of texture and color on the panels. Techniques both learned and invented greatly influence my prints, just as the process of printmaking influences my paintings. Each experimentation creates new knowledge. One image seen is approached using mixed mediums, which play off one another. This process-oriented approach allows for a constant morphing and growth of multiple pieces at a time and demonstrates the endless amount of ways to see the surrounding world.