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Studio Visit - Nicole Patel

Studio Visit - Nicole Patel

Studio Visit - Nicole Patel

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Studio Visit with Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is from New York City and lives and works in Hudson Valley. An array of artistic methods and media informs her minimalist aesthetic. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Morris Adjmi Architects in New York. Her work is featured in numerous publications and held in private collections. Nicole received her BFA from Syracuse University.

Q.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…

 

A.

I am a creative, visual learner and have always wanted to be a healer. Studying studio arts was a natural fit and I had loosely wanted to be an art therapist for children. After earning my BFA I traveled for a while and eventually found work in showrooms in New York such as B&B Italia, working with top architects and interior designers. When I went back to work in the studio my artistic vision had been honed by my immersion in the design world.

 

Q.

What is your creative process?

 

A.

I begin a process of assembling and arranging the materials until there starts to appear a natural order of things, a relationship between the materials with new connotations and a purpose, one that I don’t know until I see it. Once I have something that makes some sense I step back and live with it for a while. I make adjustments and know in time if it will endure.

 

Nicole Patel says

“ I’d like to provide a definitive moment of peace for the viewer. A still point they can count on.”

Q.

What draws you to the process of using natural materials?

A.

I like to raise the value of simple natural materials. There is a universal humanistic quality we recognize as honest and intimate in them. I like to honor and elevate the value of these basic materials.

 

Q.

We love the thought process you put into your materials. Can you tell us more about using turmeric and spirulina as an eco-statement?

A.

Originally I was exploring food as medicine, so I had these ingredients in my kitchen and was taking them as supplements. I wanted to stop being wasteful so I created work that is re-useable and low impact. I want to be sure I can wash these “materials” down the sink or work with them while homeschooling my son at the dining table, and not contributing to toxic materials being manufactured.

 

Q.

When do you make your best work?

A.

When I have new materials. I’m very compelled and by new materials. Off the top of my head I’d be happy with 10 square blocks of walnut, 20 raw edge cotton card squares, 100 mustard seeds and 10 pounds of organic beeswax pellets for example.

 

Q.

What inspires you visually?

A.

All of my bodies of work are different materials, and with a different visual vocabulary, but they all have the same tone, one of quiet confidence, rest, a love of natural materials and a resonance of peace. In my early twenties I came across a book of John Pawson. I was influenced by Pawson's work and a particular book was the one with the stairs on the cover. I saw it at a bookstore but kept thinking about that image of illuminated ascension. There was nothing there I could quite remember and I needed to go back and see what it was I couldn’t see. I poured over the book and subsequent others and really internalized his nuances on some level. I was also deep in learning about Zen Buddhism for about 10 years. I still have a small, plaster and sand Buddha by my side 20 years later. I think this little statue has had an immense influence on me internally, and in my work.

 

Q.

What do you listen to when creating?

A.

It’s always changing but mostly jazz I’d say. Something developed that keeps the momentum going but not distracting me from my work. This week I’ve been listening to classical guitar because I’m teaching myself how to play.

 

Q.

Your aesthetic is calming and peaceful. Can you talk about how that energy comes into your work?

A.

I live an unscheduled life at home and I am always tending to my son, designing and decorating my house, and caring for our animals and plants. My artwork happens in between all of these activities as another expression of dwelling in inspiration, peace and service. My art is developed from a long interest in living right, working in a way that does not harm others or oneself. I want to bring a sense of clarity and calm to the viewer.

 

Q.

What is your relationship with social media?

A.

Instagram helped me see there are other inspired people thriving and working creatively around the globe. I have always used it to share my daily inspirations and now more importantly I learn about climate justice leaders, the work of animal liberation activists, and I can see humanitarians working as modern day saints, and that gives me great faith. I also have an empowering plant based healing community that supports me in my personal growth and wellness.

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

My heart. The desire to help people and bring inspiration, to make light and peace visible.

 

Q.

You are in upstate NY. How does this landscape effect your work? What was that change like from the city?

A.

In the city my work reflected architectural appeal and rigid order and design with the grid works. Since living an hour north of the city for the past five years I have incorporated more of nature in my life, diet and work. You now see the use of plants, Turemric and Spirulina and rolling landscapes have appeared as a visual theme.

 

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

“People say, ‘Well I don’t have faith.’ But actually, everyone has faith of some kind. You either have faith in possibility or you have faith that that possibility doesn’t exist.”

 

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

Zaria Forman, Wolfgang Laib, and John Pawson

 

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

I’d like to provide a definitive moment of peace for the viewer. A still point they can count on. I find most people place my work in their bedroom and I really love that.

 

Q.

Describe your work in three words....

A.

Easy to live with.

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Nothing

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

My husband. Everyday for the past 15 years.

 

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

Moving into an 1830’s farmhouse in Garrison New York, it’s been a dream of mine for a long time now and it’s one step closer to the ultimate dream of building our own house in the area. I’d like to one day hand build a passive home and studio out of Hempcrete.

 

Q.

Where do you see your practice growing? What are you most excited about in the future?

A.

I'm pushing even further to make work right now that is not just low impact environmentally, but to actually have a positive impact from being produced. I've just launched a rainforest replanting initiative with small Spirulina Landscapes and One Tree Planted. My goal is to plant 5000 trees. Each card is $25 and it plants five trees. I'm in the process of making 1000 cards right in my kitchen sink, and planted 150 trees in my first few days!


I also have a series of 100% hemp art works that are being developed to raise awareness about the incredible win-win benefits of industrial hemp. When it grows it sequesters carbon, replenishes topsoil, cleans water, and absorbs nuclear waste, making it a carbon negative medium, and the only thing I'm sure we should be exploiting at this time.

About Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel's work is informed by organic materials because they hold at once quiet humility and great importance. In working with these pure materials, she aims to work in a way that will uphold their full potential.

 

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About Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel is from New York City and lives and works in Hudson Valley. Her works are created using non-toxic and sustainable materials like spirulina and turmeric in an attempt to change the art landscape and comment on the toxicity of traditional mediums on the environment. An array of artistic methods and media informs her minimalist aesthetic. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Morris Adjmi Architects in New York. Her work is featured in numerous publications and held in private collections. Nicole received her BFA from Syracuse University.

STATEMENT

My work is informed by the sustainability of simple, natural materials. Every work that I make could essentially be dismantled and repurposed.

I regularly work with untreated fabrics and strings to develop considered lines and blanks.

My designs are influenced by minimal architecture and the practice of Zen Buddhism. They unfold meditatively.

I think the challenge in our modern world is to find a way to make something by hand and to find value in imperfection. We are looking for something humanistic to live with.

As an artist, I work to meet those needs.

 

EDUCATION

1996. Syracuse University. BFA,Concentration in textiles and ceramic sculpture.

2001 - 2002. London College of Fashion.Certificate in Professional Sewing Techniques, Draping on the Stand, and Portfolio Building

2000-2001.Paris American Academy. Color for Interiors, Painting, Figure Drawing