Nikki Pecasso is an artist living and working in Vancouver B.C. She illustrates a cast of characters and scenes that reflect her interest in contemporary society. She follows themes of nostalgia, coming of age, teenage hood, addiction, sexuality, sex positive issues, the female body and the male gaze. Nikki incorporates humour to promote feminism and important topics women face, pointing out the faults and double standards that society sets for women. We recently had a chance to speak to Nikki about her approach to her delightfully honest and accurate art work.
KALTBLUT: Tell us about your creative background – when did you first start illustrating/what really pushed you to do so?
Nikki: I have always been creative and started drawing around the age of five. My cast of characters were mostly female and had very feminine-like qualities. I really liked to draw, and it felt super natural.
KALTBLUT: What medium/tools do you feel most comfortable with when creating your work? Nikki: I love ink. I like to have a ton of reference material around me — photos, ripped up magazines, inspirational images, comic book clippings and graphic novels — any kind of ink (Chinese, India) and regular ball point pens. I use Stonehenge paper, or some kind of archival cold press paper. I also have a soft spot for acrylic paints and canvas.
KALTBLUT: Are your illustrations inspired by personal experiences or of friends/scenarios you know of?
Nikki: Yes, of course. My illustrations are a mixture of my own experiences. Most drawings are reflections of myself or people I know. Others are archival images or inspirations I have discovered and collaged, or created from imagination. I draw my body transposed into bodies of other characters. Some of these works are autobiographical.
I enjoy drawing female characters which open up and become real, sexually-potent, explicit characters.
I use my art to explore attitudes and feelings of my own sexuality. I have struggled accepting my body and sexuality growing up. I have felt ashamed and even embarrassed about who I am. This shame is reflected in my art, and through the act of drawing I am able to relinquish some of this shame.
KALTBLUT: What is the message you want to get across to viewers of your work? And why is it important to spread this news?
Nikki: Do not stop expressing yourself. Do not suppress your sexuality in any way. Western culture has created barriers for women wanting to freely celebrate their womanhood. Women who celebrate their sexuality get slut shamed, verbally harassed, assaulted, and frowned upon. Enough is enough! There needs to be more sex-positive art and sex-positive spaces for women to explore and celebrate their sexuality. Fuck the patriarchy!
KALTBLUT: Have you found that your work has been responded to in a positive way? What has been the best reaction that you’ve received so far?
Nikki: I have received lots of positive and supportive feedback. I have also received hate messages and slut shaming responses. My accounts have been deleted numerous times by Instagram. To date the best reaction I’ve received has been a commission from a Hollywood director.
KALTBLUT: With the internet crammed with so much porn and now VR headsets (and more!) opening up a whole new world, what is your view on sex merging with technology?
Nikki: Sex will always fuel the advancement of technology, especially porn. I find this relationship fascinating.
KALTBLUT: Have you found any other work/artists to be really inspiring currently?
Nikki: Yes. Jim Woodring, Tom Wessleman, Shary Boyle, Walter Scott (Trendy Wendy), Chloe Wise, Robert Crumb, Polly Nor, and Daniel Clowes
KALTBLUT: What is your ultimate goal?
Nikki: I want to develop a graphic novel and transform these drawings into sculptural pieces for installation in a gallery.