Five questions to Nicole Young

Five questions to Nicole Young

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Nicole Young (b. 1990, Peterborough, Ontario) is a visual artist and art consultant based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received her BFA in Visual Arts and Art History from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, and studied studio arts and art history at UCLA. Her work is an exploration of materiality through the lens of environmentalism.How did you get into art?

I come from a very creative family, my mother is a singer and writer, my brother is an incredibly talented musician, and creativity was always supported and encouraged in our household. I’ve always been happiest when I have a project to work on, or something to make. I picked up abstract painting as one of my many creative hobbies when I was around sixteen, and it’s the practice that has stuck with me over the years.



How would you describe your style? What makes your art special? 

I describe my work as abstract textile paintings, though some pieces are more textile and others are more painting. What is unique about my work is that I make a lot of my own pigments and dyes out of natural materials, such as plants, minerals, and food waste. It’s a way for me to connect with the world around me, and reduce waste in my art making process.How do you go about developing your work?

I often think of my work like I am creating new puzzle pieces to fit together. I typically start painting on a canvas on the floor, and then once the canvas is dry I cut it up, rearrange the pieces and put it back together in a new composition with additional textiles. I also do a lot of compositional sketching, so I can plan ahead which textiles I’m going to use and whether or not I need to dye more fabrics.Who or what influences you? 

I draw a lot of inspiration from fashion - lately more from small influencers, seamstresses and small batch clothing brands. I worked in the fashion industry for a long time and that really influenced my decision to start incorporating textiles into my paintings. I find there is so much memory tied to different fabrics, and I like to use that to evoke different feelings in my work.

What are you planning to do next?

I am currently working on pieces for a solo exhibition at THIS Gallery in Vancouver, scheduled for January 2024. I’m still kind of teasing out the overall themes for the exhibition, but I know it is going to be very colourful, joyful and experimental. And I think the exhibition may even include sculptural works, something that I haven’t really pursued since university.