One colleague describes my work as “evocative” rather than “provocative.” It’s true that I long to create moving, beautiful imagery, so it’s interesting to hear people tell me how a piece moves them or what it reminds them of.
Viewers and buyers of my work span a diverse range of ages and backgrounds. Many people are captivated by the meaning they infer from a piece, but sometimes admirers are simply drawn to the colors and texture. I do love to create vivid color palettes; that is how all of my pieces begin. I can often be found paper-clipping magazine pieces together based on the colors they contain - this is how I start my palettes and it’s one of my favorite steps of my process due to its meditative quality.
In my portraiture, I use an ink transfer process to finish the photographic portrait portion of each piece, and then I flesh out the story using layers of many types of media including paint, fabric, leaves, organic materials, architectural salvage, magazine clippings, old books, and discarded plastic or metal. I am drawn to portraiture because every person I photograph lends a unique emotional essence that is evident in the eyes. In a world that seems driven by ego, I prefer to explore the beauty of vulnerability that portraiture can evoke. My portraits are often described as “dreamlike” or “surreal,” bringing the viewer into a world populated by unearthly possibilities and inner worlds.
In my handmade paper series, I explore the material itself. The handmade pieces of paper themselves become sculptures rather than substrates, which gives them new life and meaning. In this series, too, I explore sustainability both in practice and in theme, with "The Planet Room" questioning how we live our lives and what we can do to be more Earth-conscious.
Mixed media is a unique and growing fine art medium. It’s certainly not a new concept; artists have been working with mixed media for generations. Some, like myself, use it to expand the depth of the work; Cubists, including Pablo Picasso, used mixed media to shift perspective, and some, like the Dadaists, use mixed media to make political statements. Mixed media is so versatile that it seems virtually limitless in its application.
I took my first oil painting class when I was just 13 years old. It was in the basement of an old stone house down the road from my childhood home in rural Pennsylvania, taught by a man who must have been retired; I remember he seemed so old, just like the dusty old house. I was the youngest person by probably 40-50 years, but I didn’t care and neither did any of the other students - we were there for the love of oil paint. I’ll never forget the gentle lighting, soft rock radio station, and smell of turpentine and basement that permeated my senses.
As an adult I am still possessed with a passion for learning that has led me in endless pursuit of artistic techniques, new and old. I’ve studied photography at The Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg and Penland School of Arts and Crafts in North Carolina. These classes inspired my love of darkroom work and silver gelatin printing. I have also completed several design and art history courses through California Institute of the Arts, and I am constantly seeking further education to cultivate my skills and knowledge. Most recently, I’ve added encaustic painting, a stunning, dreamy method that uses melted wax and resin, to my mixed media toolkit.
An important part of my work is sustainability, which permeates not just my practice, but more and more it is defining the thematics of my work. My current project, “The Planet Room,” which debuted at the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Exhibition, supports the idea of living more sustainably by assessing a collection of imaginary planets’ ability to support life. The realization is: we must preserve the planet we have.
As an example of ways to live more sustainably, the project is made in a nearly 100% sustainable practice. Each piece is composed of hand-made paper from my magazine scraps and discarded mail. Even the water is sustainable - it’s collected from my shower as I wait for the water to warm up.
My first solo exhibition was held at The Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, FL and was attended by over 200 art lovers and collectors. I have also completed works for several group exhibitions and themed shows throughout my career. My work appears in local, national, and international publications.
Wanderlust has taken me all over Europe, the United States, and Central and South America. I have lived in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Ecuador, New York City, and Asheville, and now St. Petersburg, FL, is my forever home. Travel and exploration will inevitably continue to be a catalyst in my life and art, driving me to explore more of our extraordinary world.
I strive to better my community whenever possible through involvement and volunteering. I am a member of the Warehouse Arts District Association, I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Big Sister, and serve on the Leadership St. Pete® Planning Committee as the marketing and outreach chair.
Nikki Devereux has been commissioned by individuals and businesses to create original, dream-like imagery for unique and original interior design, illustration, and even gifts and memorials. Her technique and vision is versatile and lends itself to commission portraiture and illustration.
St. Petersburg, FL