by Lisa Tome
Nicolas Holiber is away from home.
But he is definitely not in vacation mode.
Holiber is working long hours during his tenure as Artist in Residence at West Nottingham Academy for the winter trimester.
He arrived in the area from Brooklyn, New York in early December and will remain in the position until March 8.
He earned a Master of Fine Arts from New York Academy of Art three years ago. His job duties currently include teaching sculpture to two art classes consisting of 17 students. He is also spending a great time honoring his own creations. "This is a unique residency. I get to do teaching and I get to work. The opportunity to teach in New York does not exist," said Holiber, who is working to gain classroom teaching experience. "I'm here to work and to teach. I've gotten so much work done here. This is a good place to work. I'm not distracted," he said.
He admits that teaching has been a challenge. "It was intimidating at first. They make it easy. I kind of forget what it's like to be 16. They have been doing portraits and sculptures. They bring their own point of view to it," said Holiber. "I definitely need to be patient and explain things in a way that it's interesting. And I try to treat them like adults - giving them respect and they give it back. And I try to make it fun. As long as they are engaged with what they're doing, that's all I care about."
He said he has been warmly welcomed by the school's faculty and Trish Kuhlman in the art department. "It's been nice," he said.
His current art work includes the use of plaster, painted wood, and found objects. He creates three-dimensional art and is influenced by Aztec, Asian, and Egyptian masks. His artist tools aren't the traditional brushes and palette. Instead, his studio contains drills, a caulk gun, reciprocating saw, hammers, sanders, files, and an axe. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his eight or so fictional kings that he will show in February.
Holiber's first solo gallery show "Lost Kings" will be held at the Gates Gallery at WNA from February 4 through March 3. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Saturday afternoons by appointment. A reception honoring Holiber will be held February 4 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the gallery. "It will be nice to see everything together and how it all works together. I have been working 12, 14, 15 hours per day," he said.
After he wraps up his residency here, he will return to his job in a photo studio in Brooklyn. He also hopes to land a teaching position.