Friday, November 10, 2006

Art Space Talk: Kacie Nichols

I recently interviewed artist Kacie Nichols. Kacie often combines the female form (her own) with common items in a provocative manner. Her work seems to reflect the plight of many young women in our body driven society. The end result is a disturbing visual documentary of how women may question their identity or self-worth.

When I first viewed her work I felt 'hit in the gut', so to speak. Her ability to capture a sense of beauty mixed with danger is alarming. It seems that her work is a selfless art in that she offers herself in every piece. The viewer takes on an almost voyeuristic nature as he or she observes Kacie's photography.

Nichols can ask so many questions about society by using the form of her body alongside simple materials. I especially like how she combines her flesh with glass items. In my opinion, these images reveal how women may feel as if they are walking on glass each day in the quest for a body image that is accepted by others.

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "It was actually when I got to high school and was finally given the option of taking art classes. At that time I started to experiment with all mediums and finally found two that fit to me, photography and drawing (mostly with charcoal). I found that the feelings, thoughts, as well as observations of my world that I had kept bottled up could be released and given a new life in this way. Before this time, I had no idea of how to go about it. It sets me free and I no longer feel as if I am far too burdened to function."

Q. How long have you studied photography?

A. "I have never "studied" photography persay. However, I was given a 35mm camera when I was 14 by my father. He showed me how to load the film, wind it, and then what all the settings on the camera were used for. This took a couple of weeks to get the hang of, seeing as that particular camera had several settings to learn. Once I had all the basics embedded in my mind, I just went out into my world and started experimenting with it . . . simple as that."

Q. How has creating art with your photos shaped you personally?

A. "As I mentioned before it has allowed me to feel as if I can function better than I ever have before. This gives me the advantage of taking on the world with minimal fears in doing so. It has also allowed me to, for the most part, be more optimistic about living and breathing because most of my negative feelings have been released into art instead of continuously holding me down."

Q. Do you see it as a form of release? If so, how?

A. "Yes, just taking part in it makes the cares of the day melt away. It's such a wonderful thing because new cares will bind themselves to you at every turn. Without a way to tear them down, you are left basically helpless."

Q. You seem to be very comfortable with your body. What are you trying to express when you use the nude form?

A. "In almost all cases I am trying to pair the soft form of the female figure with a harsh idea. The contrast in this is beautiful and striking."

Q. You write poetry as well. Is there a connection between your poetry and photography?

A. "There would have to be, wouldn't there? I mean, both the poetry and the photography come from the same creature. The same thoughts and feelings go into both. I would love to sit down some day and pair each photograph with its own poem. There's something about having those expressive words side by side with a visual representation of itself that I find fascinating."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in the images your take?

A. "A lot of times when I am creating my self-portraits, for example, the thoughts that are passing through my mind include those of society’s typical view of women. The way I feel women are viewed is that to be a "real" woman, one must fit this standard of a slender, perfectly made-up, and well-dressed beauty. I feel as if my self-portrait images capture this standard but at the same time evoke emotions in the viewer of how harsh and truly unbearable this standard is to hold to. If that makes sense . . ."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "My artistic influence is simply this: life and all it comes with. Because of this, I have been inspired by most individuals that I have come into contact with. However, there is one that stands out from the rest just the slightest bit . . . A young man I encountered a couple of years ago. His name and the moments I remember of him are of no never mind to the public, but he changed the course of my life with his harshness and I say thank you to the arrogant poet."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "I would prefer not to talk about my background and past experiences, it makes me uncomfortable. Just know that my past as well as current experiences are reflected in my work today."
Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you took the photo?

A. "This photo is titled "Baneful Bust" (image above).When I created this photo I was thinking about how I was desperatelely striving to fit the ideal of a beautiful woman . . . Starving, spending money that could be used for better things to dress well, and using too much of my time putting on make-up or fixing my hair . . . But in the end decided to strip myself of all these things and attempt to destroy their hold on me. This destruction is symbolized by the knife in the photo. My artistic process simply consists of feeling an emotion and then capturing it through a lens while it still exists in me or in others. If it passes then it’s lost to me as well as others."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "I have Myspace page for my photography: I have just started work on an actual site . However, this excursion may take a while to complete seeing as I have little HTML experience."

Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?

A. "When I showed my work at the local coffee shop, I could not show certain pieces because it was a family environment. Children were often coming in and out of the shop and it would have been inappropriate for some of my photographs to be out where children could view it. So, I cut those pieces from the showing and pulled it back together. I felt that this was a reasonable censorship. Other than that, posting my photographs on public profiles is problematic. Nudity must be censored and the like. I simply open the file with photoshop and cover, in most cases for my work, the nipples in my work as creatively as possible because I feel the "big black box" approach is distracting. In all instances, I try not to become angry about the situation."

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "To release and capture a memory in time."

Q. Where can we find you on

A." My account name for is GodintheBox."
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art?

A. "Only that I hope for those who view it to see it with their own eyes and look at it with their own experiences in mind. I love to let others draw their own conclusions and interpretations from what I create and I dislike feeding them ideas of what they "should" see."

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with artist Kacie Nichols. Feel free to critique or discuss her work. You can see more of her art by doing a search for GodintheBox on the main site.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

Very kewl. Your photography is amazing. I'm impressed. It's too bad I never went anywhere with mine... though I still thoroughly enjoy picking up my camera and snapping things that seem pretty to me and that are taken advantage of. Keep those beauties coming! I hope you can get your own site running! Good luck with future photos!

Anonymous said...

Kacie and Brian, thank you for sharing with us, this excellent interview. To Kacie: the fabric of your spirit comes through your luminous photography. Each, a precious resource that illuminates both our topside treasures and our under-wrecks of the body/soul.

You should certainly try to make a manuscript with your poetry, prose and your art. Women specially, need to see and experience more statements like this. Just go for it and see what happens. Start a manuscript. Things usually arrive in time.

Keep on.

To Brian: thank you, for the insightful questions. Your flow and timing are wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Your face, Kacie, made me look at your art. I immediately felt a connection and admiration of your beauty, and was drawn to look inside to your photography. Thank you for your work and being so simple, honest and straightforward with your words.

And thank you for doing the interview, Brian. This interview site is a great idea, well put together.