Sarah Nicholls

Printmaker & Book Artist, Brooklyn, NY


Artist Statement: My work revolves around the borrowed authority of printed language. I often use that tone of authority to explore the comforts and limitations of community: what kinds of things bind people together, and why it is difficult to hold that in place. I build texts by moving back and forth between collecting language and editing/rewriting. These texts often deal with time, patterns of behavior, transformation, and collections. I am fascinated by the interior monologue and the kind of interior lapses in time that reading creates.

I believe bodily movement is the foundation of language, that the experiences of touch and grip give language its directive power. I produce works which depend both on the accumulation of experience and the repetition of motion. I am interested in the ways that the process of making relates to discipline and physical endurance. Repetitive, meticulous labor is a form of training, and can serve as a way to both hold onto and to subvert uncomfortable emotions.

In 2010, I began the Brain Washing From Phone Towers Publishing Initiative, which produces informative and entertaining Free Informational Pamphlets on a seasonal basis. Our first production was a pamphlet on the History of Pie; we anticipate publishing this fall on the subject of Weasels and their Habits. I propose to produce as a visiting artist to Appleton, WI a pamphlet on your famous native son, Harry Houdini. These small-scale publications combine text (found, handset) and image (carved in wood or linoleum) produced via obsolete technology in editioned works which are distributed at will to a chosen audience. The content of the series aims for historical interest, commemorative intent and a healthy dose of humor, and the distribution methods are based on the values of the gift economy. Our publishing model reflects the print tradition of the tract, small pamphlets usedfor religious and political purposes, which are often either left for someone to find or handed out.

Speaker Bio: Sarah Nicholls has bee the Programs Manager at the Center for Book Arts in New York City since 2002. She earned a BA degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1996. Sarah Nicholls is a visual artist who makes pictures with language, books with pictures, prints with type, and animations with words. She works with found language and metal type, combining image, visual narrative, and time. She has written a collection of self-help aphorisms, and recently began publishing a series of free informational pamphlets.

Sponsorship: The Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop, The Coleman Foundation,  The Art & Art History Department, & thINK Printmaking Club