Scottish artist, Kirsty Nicoll, has been our second international AIR. As she had been traveling through South America prior to her arrival, Kirsty had a limited supply of materials with her; she has used the opportunity for a very personal investigation of self-portrait. Many thanks to both Kirsty and Joseph Puglisi for the following interview.
Inerviewer: Joseph Puglisi
Joseph: What is your name and your cultural background?
Kirsty: I’m Kirsty Nicoll, and I’m from Scotland.
J: What is your primary media? What characterizes your style?
K: My primary media is painting. I typically use oil paint, but at Artesumapaz I’ve been experimenting with acrylic. My style is colourful, bold and I work quickly; the fast brush strokes give my paintings an energy. Up close it might not be clear what the painting is, but from a distance it comes together.
J: What subjects do you find yourself drawn to in your creative process?
K: I find myself drawn to portraits; it gives a focal point to a painting. I find it very fulfilling capturing expressions and moods and a likeness of someone in amongst some crazy brushstrokes.
J: What inspired you to visit ArteSumaPaz? How did you find us? What did you want to get out of this experience?
K: I really wanted to dedicate a good chunk of time focusing solely on my artistic development and creative process. I’ve completed many portrait commissions where I typically copy a photograph, where the aim is to get the likeness spot on. While I enjoy doing commissions like these, I wanted a space to experiment and explore what my own individual style actually is and to see where my work went without any restrictions. I’m at a pivotal moment in my life where I’m debating whether to do a Masters at art school, or do more residencies, or just get a job, so I feel being here is going to be the decider of what direction I’m going to go in.
I found ArteSumaPaz on the ResArtis website.
J: Can you described the qualities that make living and creating at ArteSumapaz unique?
K: I’ve never been to a place like this. The landscape is just stunning, and I’ve never been surrounded by so many artists in such an intense environment. The creativity in every person is really inspiring, and the energy of everyone combined is incredible. It’s such an open and safe environment that I feel like I’ve not only developed as an artist but also personally. You are part of a family when you are here. It feels removed from real life somehow, like we are living in this ideal community.
J: I’ve noticed you’ve been painting and drawing self-portraits. Can you described the process of putting yourself into your works, the vulnerability of looking in a mirror hour after hour, and what exactly you’re trying to capture?
I had never done a self portrait before I came here; and as it is such a time of introspection and self exploration, it seemed completely fitting. And there is a hope that confronting yourself with yourself in a mirror every day will lead to some kind of self acceptance.
As I said before I’m used to working with photographs, so using a mirror also means I’m drawing from life which I think gives more of a truth to a portrait.
J: What would you tell other artists who are considering visiting ArteSumaPaz?
K: One hundred percent come! Ric [Dragon] the director, is also a fountain of knowledge about everything to do with art, he has been incredible at giving guidance and suggesting some artists I should look into.
J: Where are you going next after your artist-in-residency here? What your plans or next steps in refining your art?
K: As I said before, I’m in the deciding phase what direction I want to go in, but I think im leaning towards doing more artist residencies next year, hopefully in Europe. I’ve only been here a week and I feel I have already developed so much and I’m excited to see where my work goes if I continue dedicating this much time and energy on it.