We had the good fortune of connecting with Eva Nicolait and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eva, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Like other activities where skill must be transformed into intuition, painting reflects our embedded reactions to success, failure, frustration, and ease. Evolving with painting has required that I lose my inhibitions about mistakes and failure. When I come to an impasse, I’ve had to learn that I’m simply stuck for awhile and either walk away for a bit, do something else so ideas are allowed to filter through unbidden, or just wade in and mess around with it and deal with what happens. The wonderful thing about painting is the process of getting there, the discoveries that result from problem-solving with a mixture of expertise and abandon.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Aside from life-drawing classes I am largely self-taught. I’ve drawn and painted since I was a teenager, in extra bedrooms, garages, in what a friend of mine calls “combat conditions”. While I worked as a hairstylist, I painted before work and on weekends. Most practicing artists know that we are basically nerds and just apply ourselves to the task: make progress, make mistakes, just make something. It has often not been easy but it has always been at the forefront of my life. Gallery representation would be lovely but, with or without it, painting and following visual ideas has been my life and I love it. The kind of painting I do requires trained hands, analysis, and heart: skill, brains, and emotions. Any two, for me, is not enough in the Arts. In order to move me, work must contain all three. Much like a musician’s expertise, once you’ve spent the years getting your skills in order, you just wind it up and let it go. Then you might produce the kind of improvisation that is worth paying attention to. I make paintings in both figuration and abstraction practices that reflects the formal aspects of the visual disciplines, and the funneling of my brain and heart into my hands so they can take me where they will.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Santa Fe is a small city but offers a lot for its size. It is situated at the foot of the Rockies and provides an austere, high-desert beauty, as well as Ponderosa Pine and Aspen covered mountains. My visiting BFF and I will walk and wonder at the intricateness and enormity of the desert in the Galisteo Basin, and then we’ll go to Arable, near to where I live, for drinks and dinner and be treated to the wonderful creations of Renee Fox. In town, we’ll check out Pie Projects, the always interesting gallery of Alina Boyko and Devendra Contractor, then head over to Fire and Hops for great beer, wine, and inspired pub grub, or to Radish and Rye for top-flight cocktails and food. The Railyard District and a stroll along Guadalupe Street is a fun thing to do and we can end up at Paloma for excellent contemporary Latin food and and an extensive tequila menu, or maybe hang at the Cowgirl BBQ for some down-home food and live music in the patio.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Back in high school only cool kids were in the art classes and, not ever being cool, I never took art classes. But, luckily for me, I encountered a teacher, Larry Sloane, who was an artist, and he opened the door to drawing for me. I loved it and I never looked back. So thank you, Larry. Nancy Chiesa, who encouraged me from the start and to this day offers candid and thoughtful observations. Francesca Yorke, a strong and compelling visual artist whose validation is hugely appreciated. And the late Susan Rothenberg, an intelligent and fascinating painter whose works inspired me to start painting again after a very long lull.