The Neighborhood Series of drawings captures the fleeting moods of West Philadelphia as it’s transformed by the influx of growing businesses, new residents, petty crimes, and trope characters. It represents a platform for communication. Livingston hopes it encourages people from different walks of life to exchange ideas and learn about each other. The portraits are colored in with sharpie paint markers that drip and splatter with the fusions of vibrant colors. Livingston used thin lines to illustrate how close we are connected and purposely omitted a background setting for some of the figures to promote viewer interaction in the sense the viewers imagine a personal narrative to match the character on display. Her art is reflective of her observations and perceptions. To Livingston, it’s how she connects and builds strong relationships with people. It’s how she interacts with the world.
Name: Nile Livingston
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2010 – Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, Sculpture
Significant or special training:
Notable or memorable instructors or mentors:
I found a mentor as I studied with Philadelphia artist Phoebe Adams, who is nationally recognized for her biomorphic sculptural forms. Her work is inspired by natural phenomena-imagery suggestive of astronomical, biological, or geographical formations made of bronze, marble, or wood perch. Her most memorable quote is “frustration is an artist’s best friend,” an antidote she offered me after difficult sessions in her sculpture class, a course I took at Kutztown University.
Particular field of study or class work:
Studio Art: Metal Fabrication, Sculpture, Ceramics, Graphic Design, Animation, and Mural Painting
Major influences/admired artists:
My community is a major influence. Observing the day-to-day pedestrian archetype is what inspired this particular series titled ‘The Neighborhood Series of Drawings.’ The thin lines that illustrate each person simplify a complex ecological web. The portraits are colored in with sharpie paint markers that drip and splatter with the fusions of vibrant colors, capturing the fleeting moods of West Philadelphia as it’s transformed by the influx of growing businesses, new residents, petty crimes, and trope characters. The mission behind displaying these artworks is to connect people across various backgrounds, create an opportunity for the exchange of ideas, and encourage an individual’s understanding of others. By producing artworks that are reflective of my experiences and perceptions I’ve been given opportunities to develop stronger relationships with people that come across my work.
I admire the visual ideas and self-reflections of conceptual artist Chris Burden, whose performances strategically explore processes involved in discomfort. He prompts viewers to continue to analyze themselves. I also enjoy the work of folk-artist Frida Kahlo, whose paintings contain a knowledge that goes beyond simply studying the world into comprehension by experiencing life. Anish Kapoor is another favorite. I find encouragement in how his visceral sculptures have achieved a desirable level of deregulation to the human senses, allowing room for interrogation of the real. I also love artists that explore in other forms of expression, like writers, dancers, and musicians.
Favorite materials or media:
I don’t have a favorite material: I want to be limitless. I love working with the computer because of how meticulously I can plan out designs, but, on the other end of the spectrum, I like painting because it has taught me to embrace elements of uncertainty and probability. I never really know how a painting will turn out but I enjoy the process.
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