Nicol is a former adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College, an artist in fine standing in the Reno community since 1985, and the engine behind the Oxbow Press printmaking shop. She was also kind enough to do the art on one of the Reno News & Review newspaper racks. Hers is on Virginia Street across from Reno City Hall. To reach Nicol at the Press, call 303-8086. To reach the RN&R about doing an art rack, call Karen Brooke at 324-4440 x. 3526.
Describe your art.
Most of my work surrounds the contemporary male nude. And issues of the female gaze.
The female gaze?
You know how in society females are usually viewed, not viewers. Even males are trained that way, where their bodies are not viewed. A lot of my work is trying to debunk that societal issue and refocus on the male nude from the female perspective.
What do you think government and/or business can do to enhance the cultural life in Reno?
Honestly, I think that giving opportunities to artists, at least letting artists create things and not standing in their way.
Do you mean like local artists or artists in general for commissions or whatever?
I think local artists. I’m a big proponent of trying to keep artists here in Nevada. Nevada needs some artists. I’m sure this is an issue all artists talk about. When you’re an artist, and people are saying you should move out of the state of Nevada because your art would do better somewhere else, that’s sad. We really need good artists and those artists staying in Nevada, not moving away for better opportunities.
What can regular people do to enhance the cultural life in Reno?
You mean besides buy local art? My experience with what’s happening with Oxbow Press and how we started something in the middle of a recession, and we have so much support … we have people coming to our openings, people buy stuff here, they take our classes. They don’t have money, but they’re still supporting something. I think just keeping money in the community and supporting ventures that have to do with artistic, cultural, societal projects [will help].
What made you decide to do a newsrack for our artbox project?
What really got other artists involved and secured Oxbow Press was that I saw that you guys at Reno News & Review weren’t censoring the boxes. For me, that’s liberating in a way that there’s a source that won’t turn around and censor. I mean, my male nudes have already been censored by the Nevada Arts Council, and I had a show up, and I had to have signs at Sierra Arts. It was just so refreshing that a business entity would say, “No, you can do whatever you want, we’re not censoring you.”
Excellent. I’m proud of that.
And I was just so excited about that. It was a really busy time in the summer, too, but I just went for it. And the other factor was that it was a project that we artists at Oxbow Press could do together, and it was really a project that my daughter [Alexandria Nicol] and I could do together. So she came in, and we were painting in sort of a collaborative spirit.