Andrew Nigon might be one of the most hotly-tipped artists to emerge out of the Miami scene – and the self-described “white kid from the Midwest” insists he’s not just playing with toys.
Who is Andrew Nigon?
Andrew is a white kid from the Midwest who is still afraid to talk to strangers.
You say: “the aim of my work is to draw attention to the parallax nature of our contemporary existence in which we have an insatiable drive to improve while living in a state of constant decay.” Could you elaborate?
I guess what I’m saying is that for the work to be really meaningful to me it has to embody some heroic qualities without forgetting that the struggle never ends. There is no “happily ever after”. Not really. Things are good for a while and then they suck again. Even my process is made up of a combination of building up and tearing down with the final product existing somewhere in between.
Your work often resembles toys – so how do you still tell a story that starts a mature conversation?
I don’t intentionally make the work to look like toys. Pink is a favorite color of mine since it can be connected to so many things across the spectrum. Pink is Disney princess and pink is vagina. I always try to balance any painful characteristics that my work may possess with bright playful colours. I imagine all of my work as living things that have stories told through their scares and imperfections. In the end I think the work is pathetic but also light hearted, and in that way, opens up for mature conversation. Everyone can relate to pathetic.
One of your latest sculptures is a tower of dolls atop each other. Could you tell us more please?
I try to combine a circus aesthetic with religious iconography to all my work. I grew up Roman Catholic but was always disappointed with how dry the ceremonies were. Perhaps the Catholic Church today tries to appear normal and safe, or maybe it’s just me. Either way that blah approach removes all of the mystery that makes religion so powerful. “Disciples of a New Faith” was in response to some of these ideas. I created a group of clowns stacked on top of one another to resemble a 13 foot tall totem pole. It’s as if this small congregation is in the middle of some strange ritual to bring them closer to God… or they’re just entertainment to outsiders, who’s to say? Mystery and God are sometimes the same thing.
Has anything interesting/ funny/ dangerous ever happened when you tried a new material?
With art? No. But a few years ago when I was home visiting my parents I accidentally got wicked drunk on gin and tried to start a bonfire with gasoline.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been reading about “two-spirits” in Native American Culture. Two-Spirits are individuals who possess qualities of both genders and perform both roles in dress and work. I am interested in how these people were treated as divine characters and often acted as priests or medicine men. This is influencing a new body of work that examines the mysterious power of “otherness”.
What exhibitions do you have coming up?
A group show this fall at Primary Projects with some new work. This will be a teaser for a much bigger show at PP this winter that I am very excited about. Stay tuned.
What is the first thing that comes to you mind when you think of Wonderland?
Are you talking about that gentleman’s club on Biscayne?