Last Saturday, July 27 I went on a day trip to Chicago with the Contemporary Art Society and African American Art Alliance to visit the home of 30 Americans artist, Nick Cave. His pieces, “Soundsuit,” are currently on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum in the 30 Americans exhibit. Nick is very personable, friendly, and passionately serious about his work. If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit the exhibit here’s one of his pieces. It is a combination of fabric, fiberglass, and metal.
He recently completed new work for his newest exhibition, “Sojourn” at the Denver Art Museum, in Denver, CO. So, with a break in the action, Nick allowed us to come into his art studios and personal living space. The first studio we entered had materials laid out on tables that were part of his unfinished commissioned pieces. Nick, and his graphic designer/creative director Bob Faust, are shopaholics! They regularly visit tons of resale shops far and wide to find the treasures he uses in his creations. He is very particular about what he is looking for and knows what he intends to use it for. We saw many rooms containing bins of buttons, mannequin forms, and several sewing machines. The second studio we entered contained more “works in progress” and more sewing machines. There was so much raw material and we all laughed afterwards remembering earlier that Bob told us the studio was “quiet” because it had been recently emptied in preparation for the Denver show.
Next we went into his apartment. “Speechless,” “WOW!” and “Amazing,” are some of the adjectives used to describe what we saw. It was eye candy overload because Nick is a serious art collector and says he has a hard time not buying art when he visits an exhibition. In every room (and there were many) we found art on the walls, floors, doors—just about everywhere! Interestingly the number of art pieces didn’t make his space overly busy or crowded. Every piece had its place and fit well with other art, furniture, and everything else in the room.
I fell in love with his personable spirit right away. Nick joked that he is ok if you’re ok. His students at the Chicago Art Institute are both challenged and enthusiastic when he is in the classroom. He expressed the same thing many artists already know—hard work ethic and determination are a must in order to succeed.
As an artist I am always inspired and excited when I meet new artists and listen as they share their vision. Meeting Nick Cave was for me a delightful high that will last for quite a while.
- Video: Nick Cave installation at Denver Art Museum (photos.denverpost.com)
- Nick Cave’s fabulous resurrections at the Denver Art Museum (denverpost.com)
- Nick Cave ‘Sojourn’ Exhibit At Denver Art Museum Explores The Sensory With Flea Market Items (huffingtonpost.com)
- Upcoming Nick Cave Documentary Is Not a Documentary (animalnewyork.com)
- Photos: Nick Cave’s “Sojourn” at the Denver Art Museum (photos.denverpost.com)