Creative Incubator Artist of the Day: Harvey Nichol

Get to know an artist! Today’s Incubator spotlight is on Harvey Nichol.

Harvey is cool. And colourful. And energetic. Harvey is as multi-faceted as the mediums he works in. You can see it in his woodcut art, 3d printed sculpture, painting, creative writing, and the clothes he designs for his clothing brand. He has his hands full.

He is nevertheless making space right now to spend time in the Creative Incubator. We feel very lucky to have him here. It’s been very exciting to watch him work, turning the Studio Theatre into a giant painting studio, with canvases spread and drop sheets laid out, catching the paint as it flies. 

The work itself is serious. Harvey is working on a political painting project, exploring the current political climate in his country of origin, The Philippines. 

“I think it’s very important to tell the struggle that my people are going through to not only elevate our voices but for the world to be able to see our plight and understand why this is happening and how we could help and change the situation.”

The Philippines is facing a number of crises currently, including the mass exodus of Filipino people leaving the country to find a better life, away from political strife and injustice. Since Philipinne President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016, there have been thousands of extra-judicial killings and disappearances of activists and citizens in the so called “war on drugs.” (World Report 2020). Particularly vulnerable are the poor, who are scapegoated as perpetrators by the government.

“I feel a sense of responsibility to highlight the margins in our society because I believe that we won’t be able to change anything until we expose the problem.”

The vibrancy and palpable energy you see in Harvey’s work is an expression of, and reaction to, the difficult emotions he is processing at any given time. With so much going on, we asked Harvey what the Creative Incubator could offer him that was different from his ongoing practice. 

“What excites me the most in this initiative is the chance to work with other creatives that I would haven’t gotten the chance to if it wasn’t for this project. The brand and marketing aspect of it also really helps in terms of defining what it is I want to convey to my audience and it inspires to keep on working even during these times of uncertainty.”

cSPACE: What’s your imaginary autobiography called? 

HN: “Torlek.” Torlek was this nonsense word that I used to say when I was kid. Apparently it was me trying to pronounce my actual name.

cSPACE: We like it. What excites you about the Creative Incubator?

HN: What excites me the most in this initiative is the chance to work with other creatives that I would haven’t gotten the chance to if it wasn’t for this project. The brand and marketing aspect of it also really helps in terms of defining what it is I want to convey to my audience and it inspires to keep on working even during these times of uncertainty.

cSPACE: What inspires you about cSPACE?

HN: The creative atmosphere that cSPACE provides is the number one thing that I’d say I enjoy the most.  As soon as you walk in I can feel energized by all the art that surrounds me.

cSPACE: At cSPACE we live by the 4C’s: Creativity, Community, Collaboration, and Change. Which of these resonates the most with you right now?

HN: All of them resonate with me. Not only are these 4Cs the building block of what an artist should strive for but it’s also what makes being an artist as a job special.

cSPACE: Where do you see yourself in five years?

HN: I would love to come back to my country and to continue some of my work there especially during the summer. My personal goal since I started working as an artist was to go back home every year as a type of pilgrimage to my people and to also explore the surrounding countries in SouthEast Asia. Unfortunately last year that did not happen and obviously this year neither but we gotta do what we gotta do.

cSPACE: We are grateful that you are doing what you gotta do here with us in the Incubator. What other people gotta do is visit your website and Instagram to connect with you, support you, and find out more about your past and present work! 

Instagram: @harveyisdead
Website: www.harveynichol.ca

Photo credit: Aiden James

cSPACE gratefully acknowledges the support of the Calgary Foundation for the Creative Incubator Initiative

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