Art lovers have a unique opportunity to explore the great outdoors this month with Michael Nikola's upcoming Nature: A Retrospective. Nikola, a lifelong Utahn, is excited to share his love of the outdoors through his art, which is on display at Salt Lake Community College South City Campus from Aug. 10-25.
The artist, who earned his associate degree with an emphasis on illustration from SLCC and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, from Utah Valley University, has been interested in art for as long as he can remember. "At 5 or 6, I would doodle at church to keep myself entertained," he says. "My whole life, I have been selling my art and doing commissions on the side of whatever day job I had at the time. Now I do it on the side of graphic design, which is a career I got into so I could be artistic in a day-to-day job setting."
Nikola's exhibit proposal was accepted in March 2016, but he says that, in a way, he's been planning for it his whole life. He prides himself in finding beauty in everyday experiences, so his exhibit focuses on landscapes and sketches from his travels. "Since March, I've been drawing these 3-by-3-inch mini landscape sketches of all the places I've traveled to, and there are 60 of them that will be up at the show," he says. "Ultimately, the show will be full of landscapes that I love, and I am looking forward to people seeing how I interpret nature through my painting and drawing."
"Whether it's painting, drawing, pushing pixels or vectoring, my goal is to make beautiful, clever, creative, simple and captivating designs," he says. With a wide range of artistic abilities, it's no wonder he has found a group of loyal fans in Salt Lake City.
Fellow artist Curtis Jensen loves Nikola's process. "I feel like Mikey is in love with nature and, at times, he has no other way to express that passion other than oil paint," he says. "Mikey is a happy person in general, but I've never seen an artist so euphoric while working. You can take Mikey out of nature, but he's just going to sit in his studio and create his own wilderness."
Local fan Lindsey Sine also is excited for the upcoming exhibit. "I've had the honor of being able to watch him draw and paint, and what impresses me the most about his approach and final work is the creativity and elegance he uses to capture nature's beauty," she says. "His interpretation of the outdoors is incredibly unique. ... I'm excited for people to have the chance to see this amazing work."