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Cultivate Featured Artist: Nic Hampton

The Cultivate Curatorial Board is excited to share the work of Nic Hampton.

Nic shares their work and process in our interview below.

Learn more about the Cultivate Featured artist series below.

Learn more about Nic on their:

Briefly describe your work or share your artist statement

My work explores the body, noting how specific poses or shifts in posture can reveal the unspoken. I am inspired by Kapwa, the Filipino word for "Self within the Other" – my goal is to make work that changes the condition of separation, to union. My paintings are integrative of my ancestral roots and family culture, experiences from my past and present, and explores formal and figurative language as a medium for expression.

Abstract portrait of a man and woman in style of pointalism
“Kaibigan (Lover/Friend)”, 2022, Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 34”x48”. Image Courtesy of the Artist

How do you go about beginning a new piece? Do you have it planned or is it more spontaneous?

It’s a combination of predetermined composition and spontaneity. I usually reference a sketch or a multitude of sketches as guidelines for specific poses for the figures. But at some point I stop looking at the reference and that’s when the work really takes shape. It becomes less of an attempt to copy, and instead an iterative process.

What is a barrier that you, as an artist, overcame?

The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome was self doubt. I used to tell myself that my work wasn’t “good enough”. I set a standard of perfection that didn’t exist, and constantly beat myself up for not reaching it. These past couple years I’ve been embracing imperfection. It’s allowed me to fall in love with painting again and just have fun with it.

2 figures sit with child laying across their laps in pointalist style
“Mahal Kita, Apo (I Love You, Grandchild)”, Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 38”x60”. Image Courtesy of the Artist

What is your go-to music when you're working on art?

Music is such a big part of my life and creative process. One of my hobbies is making playlists - I consider it my own curatorial practice. Each playlist is made to reflect my present headspace. Listening to music that resonates with how I’m feeling allows me to embrace my emotions on a deeper level. This translates to how I paint, and the intimacy of the process. As for my all time favorite musicians: The Cranberries, Ghostly Kisses, and Novo Amor.

What do you strive for as an artist? What form of recognition is important for you?

The most fulfilling recognition I’ve received is when people express that my art resonated with them in a very emotional way. I strive to form connections and if my art is able to do that, I know I’ve succeeded.

abstracted figure sitting on ground with legs bent in front of them
“It’s best somehow”, 2022, Ink, watercolor, gouache, 18”x24”. Image Courtesy of the Artist

What advice would you share for artists? Share something that you have learned along the way.

Something I’ve been asked a lot is how I found my style. I think there’s a lot of anxiety and worry around having an art style, and the best advice I can give is to just keep making. Keep drawing, keep painting, keep experimenting with new materials. More and more. Eventually you’ll see patterns in your marks and choice of colors. Step back, analyze them, and then keep doing it, but now with intention.

abstracted image of two figures sitting huddled together
“trading lifeboats”, 2022, Ink, watercolor, gouache, 18”x24”. Image Courtesy of the Artist

Who are three working artists that you love and would recommend?

Daniel Freaker is an artist I discovered this year. He paints quite similar to me, using fluorescent colors and working in thinned layers of acrylic. He has such a strong sense of composition and storytelling.

Maja Ruznic is someone I have admired for a couple years now. She is also an alum of California College of the Arts. Her paintings are so hauntingly beautiful, the figures seem to emerge from the canvases.

And last is James Gobel, who I had the privilege of having as a professor at CCA. I really admire the process of how his paintings are constructed and how it highlights a consistent drawing practice.


Cultivate Artists

A curated collection of emerging and mid-career artists. The featured artist program at Cultivate serves to share the artist's work and process with the community, inviting them to understand how and why an artist creates the work they do, to market and promote artists, and to connect artists to each other and to our network of curators, artists, and gallery owners.

These artists are curated together and represent the work that we exhibit at Cultivate. The artists are selected in January and June, and scheduled out for the six-month period. If you are interested in being one of Cultivate featured artists, please visit our open call for submissions.

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