By Jenna Weis
Living in an environmentally centered society it has become almost second nature to recycle materials we use every day, even frowned upon when we don’t. For most of us, the thought of those materials become obsolete in the aftermath but artist, Nicole Hixon questions “what happens to the things we no longer use or see?” Growing up in a transitional time to a more environmentally friendly world, Hixon became inspired to bring attention to the value of disposed objects. She says; “I realized that I could use materials people believed were expendable to create something more from them and give them new life.” By reconfiguring these disposed objects Hixon reveals the natural quality she sees in them and generates organically charged sculptures.
Hixon discovered her artistic calling with ceramics, but it was her interaction with the art of Chakaia Booker that sparked her interest of working with disposed materials. She says “I was inspired to create work from inorganic material and make it seem natural- make it grow.” With old tires, plastic bottles, and other found objects donated by friends and family, Hixon creates sculptures that represent what we see in nature yet brings to light their original forms which she believes is where their true value comes from. Instead of simply throwing her finds in a recycling bin never to be thought of again, she says she has “a bigger plan and agenda to elevate their status.”
Her sculptures entail organic shapes and textures making the original materials unrecognizable at first glance. She then labels her works with codes that would be seen on an assembly line to force the viewer to confront “how we often strip the planet of natural resources to make synthetic things instead of using what’s given.” Consideration of material, form, and title together in her sculptures contribute to her overall theme of value in objects, which she also explores with photography. In ‘The Calgary’ series ominous photos of the cemetery, created through a plastic bottle filter, connects human bodies to disposed objects. She explains; “In continuing to think about how we assign value to objects, I started thinking about how we assign value to life and death and the cycles in our bodies, because in these bodies we are ourselves disposable.”
Come see her work in the sculpture garden at the SPARKBOOM kickoff event “Beards, Bards, and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace from 7-10 PM.
Visit Nicole’s website at nicolehixonart.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.