Nikki Vismara

Nikki Vismara is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she majored in Visual and Critical Studies. In 2009, she completed a Master’s degree specializing in Paleolithic Art at l’Université Lumière in Lyon, France.  

Nikki lived in France for nearly a decade, where she taught English and Art History at the university level. Her artwork draws upon a variety of themes, including her extensive travel, international humanitarian work, and urban landscape. In 2013, she returned to her native California. She currently resides in San Francisco and works out of her studio at Hunter's Point Shipyard. 

Vismara’s artwork can be found in private collections in the United States and Europe.

Artist Statement

Using my surroundings as an inspiration, I first painted abstract landscapes and cityscapes from photographs taken while traveling abroad. After studying the Impressionists at a young age, I became fascinated with their loose brushwork and mastery of light. The influence of these techniques shows in the progression of my early work, which reflects both real and abstract principles. While living in France my work became more refined, with a simultaneous shift towards realism. Eventually, the inspirational imagery I was using ceased to interest me, and I began experimenting with new techniques and expanding further into abstraction.

My work today is done intuitively. It is rooted in emotions, ideas, and nature, but never a specific image. The proximity of the water to my studio influences my work, and my paintings often reference landscapes and a horizon. My latest work explores the concept of light and darkness coexisting, both literally and metaphorically. I am interested in the emotional representation of paradoxes. With the most recent paintings, I am not interested in using white as a color, but rather as a tool to illustrate exquisitely subtle nuances.

Each brushstroke is intentional, and I am drawn to the constant struggle of losing and regaining control of the paint. This work is physically demanding. I build the canvases myself, and they are often larger than me. I am constantly rotating and adjusting the height of the canvas, shifting my position, and moving while painting. Although orchestrating the compositions and working at this scale can be demanding, I enjoy it immensely. It is challenging because there is no point of reference. It is up to me to decide when the painting is finished. I finally feel like I am making the work I was meant to do.