Art is a fast-growing area of creativity that suddenly all the kids want to be a part of. But, just like all things, not everyone can pull it off. Although there is no right or wrong when it comes to art, there are still three major things that one must have in order to be a true artist: creativity, a vision and a passion for the craft. For example; photographer, student and visual artist Haleigh Nickerson has all three and she never fails to prove it.
When artistic talent, intelligence and philosophy collide, it is sure to make an impact in some way, shape or form. Through one painting or one photo, one can say an abundance of different things and speak to a ton of different crowds. A Doll In A Dollhouse (see below), perhaps one of Haleigh’s most visually striking projects, is a self-shot photography series where she is dressed up as a doll in a — you guessed — dollhouse. The “dollhouse” being her actual house, of course.
“I was really exploring the ‘selfie’ while imitating Cindy Sherman’s way of working.” Nickerson tells us about her Dollhouse project.
“I guess the initial idea of this project or series began with the same idea as the rest of my work; which is essentially taking an already existing, well-known image and re-appropriating it — changing the image to a person of color.”
Besides her amazing way with a camera, costume design, makeup and scene-setting, something major that stands out in Nickerson’s work is the focus she puts on race and pretty much anything that is least spoken of, but needs to be addressed. For some pieces, the art speaks for itself. For others, it might need a bit more explanation. Either way, she makes it clear that her voice, and the many voices she speaks for, must be heard.
“Race is a huge part of who I am.” the artist explains, “As a woman of color, my voice is a marginalized one. I use my art to make voices like my own heard. I use my art to make issues and things that go unnoticed or that are turned a blind eye to heard (race and things related to race).”
A notable piece is Mourning Our Brothers (below), which is a collection of sketches portraying 17 African American young men who were murdered in the last 60 years due to race-related issues. From Emmitt Till in 1955 to Mike Brown in 2014, this collection is perhaps one of Haleigh’s most powerful and thought-provoking projects.
As it is expected, Haleigh’s work receives a number of different reactions. No matter if the feedback is positive or negative, she will stop at nothing to get her point across and her voice out there; and as an artist with a passion, there is probably no better way to go about it.
“Some people are really moved by my work, and some people aren’t. Sometimes, the racial undertone to my work makes people feel uncomfortable; probably because it generates a dialogue and makes people think about things that ‘no one’ wants to talk about.”