Nikki Painter is a nationally and internationally exhibiting artist with solo shows at Shockoe Artspace, COOP Gallery, Purdue University's Rueff Gallery, and Twelve21 Gallery in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including shows at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Daegu Arts Center in South Korea.

Painter has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Maitland Arts and History Museum, the Jentel Foundation, and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Her work is part of private and public collections including the collection of Capital One in Richmond, Virginia, and the permanent collection of the Katzen Museum in Washington, DC.


Through my mixed media works on paper, I envision a world that is constantly constructed and then broken down. Construction and destruction may happen simultaneously, and sometimes natural forms take over and are the “winners” of the unfolding drama.

I have also made installation-based sculpture, and because I don’t always have the resources to work large-scale, I make “dimensional drawings,” which I think of as small installations. My works “Home” and “Climb (Dream)” are examples of dimensional drawings. I may use them as models for larger pieces in the future. 

My visual style is rooted in eighties pop culture, referring to brightly colored cartoons and digital collage techniques that were hallmarks of music videos from that decade. These things shaped my inner bank of imagery, and they are evident in the world I build within my work. I use non-realistic spatial perspective, intricate patterns, and layers of media to create a sense of intensity, mystery, and controlled chaos.

I am currently working on a body of work focused on the natural world, portraying plants in invented settings I refer to as "gardens". These works are alternately joyful and subdued. Their intricate patterns and playful combinations of space and color remind the viewer that nature should be valued, celebrated, and protected.