By Nicholas Dekker, marketing, communications and events administrator for the Greater Columbus Arts Council
Nicki Crock is a Columbus-based conceptual artist whose latest show, Packed, is on view at ROY G BIV Gallery in Franklinton through June 6. We chatted with her about her background, her inspirations and her latest exhibition.
Nick: How long have you been creating?
Nicki: I started making art as a kid and never stopped.
Nick: What got you into your current form?
Nicki: I moved a lot in my late teens and 20s, a time period when most people are forming who they are as adults. I was really struck with how important the ideas of home and community are to me. They are so personal and utterly universal at the same time. I’ve been working with those ideas for the past decade or so and I keep unpacking them in new ways with new materials. They’re still fresh for me and important to talk about on so many levels.
Nick: How do you describe your work to a newcomer?
Nicki: Sometimes I just say, “Hi I’m Nicki, I’m an artist and I made weird things.” That’s usually enough to break the ice and get a good conversation started.
Nick: Tell us a little bit about Packed.
Nicki: Packed is a large sculpture formed from about 150 cardboard houses. I created all of the exteriors, which are based on the architecture of a real Columbus neighborhood. I wanted to explore the ideas of community and home life, so it felt very natural to invite my own community of artist friends to collaborate on a handful of curious and inventive fantasy interiors.
Little did I know that in the midst of its scheduled Columbus debut the whole world would shift under our feet and all our lives would suddenly be lived exclusively inside our own homes. I can’t help but find new context and content in this piece. I now see value in EVERY Packed home being full of light and fantasy and thoughtfulness. That’s why I’m inviting whomever may be interested to contribute their own magical landscape to sit within one of my Packed homes. Together as a community, we’ll make Packed into something new. Interested artists can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick: Who are some of your inspirations?
Nicki: I run a small artist group called French Leave Collective and I really admire every single one of our members, and not just because a few of them contributed their artwork to Packed. Our group encompasses a lot of different kinds of art and artists, and having a community of talented peers to reach out to, share opportunities with and seek advice from helps keeps me sharp, engaged and humble.
Nick: What’s on your current playlist?
Nicki: I don’t listen to a ton of music while I’m working, but I do shotgun TV shows like it’s my job. Right now I’m racing through Into the Night on Netflix. It’s a fair bit more thrilling that my usual chill background TV, but I’m hooked.
Nick: What’s the best thing about the Columbus arts scene right now?
Nicki: It’s been amazing to watch everyone coming together to support artists during this time, from buying artwork, to ordering masks, to support grants and virtual gallery tours, craft shows and thesis shows. It’s been really encouraging and heartwarming to see Columbus lifting artists up.