I have all my most important revelations about what I should be doing in my career while listening to Kanye West.

I'm going to start listening to Kanye more.

2/15/2017


I don't use this page for artist statements. My work isn't as simple as that. I don't think most professional work is, and the way the artist statement functions in my experience lets people come to a quick ownership over work without any exploration of the actual art object that is often poised for long soulful conversation. If statements were thought of as statements, just supplementary thoughts about loosely interwoven processes, and not as explanations or summaries, then I think they would be more effective, so read this one that way. Or do whatever you want.


- Statement-Generic for Applications in late 2015

My practice is flexible. I gather plans from all areas in my life, riff on urban imagery, and intently observe people carrying out particularly unremarkable exercises. I solve domestic problems for myself and those around me through extremely inefficient means with the thinly veiled goal of ending up with an art object. I remake, retool, and rearrange. I create pieces for the gallery, and push those pieces into public when they fit. I play the role of sponge and filter, and that of orator, but most importantly I am a curator of my own goings on. I make objects in the studio and use those objects, along with found counterparts and features of the installation space to make my work. For me the making process is always a formal one, with aesthetic decisions generally trumping conceptual concerns. I am a thinker at heart, but my objects should have their own direct conversation with an inquisitive viewer rather clumsily conveying my own messages verbatim in my absence, so I strip the outcomes of my labor from how and why they came to be, and use them as modules to make descriptive compositions of objects loaded with narrative but lacking in established language structure. My works should be legible, able to be understood and read into, but without a singular moral to be taken away by each and every viewer. I produce rambling sentiments in installation form, heavy with humor and conviction, but light in dictation.

12/13/2015


I love everything I make for at least a little while. I treat a lot of things in my life that way actually. Loving something is the only way to see it through to any finality. In effect it forces the piece to either live up to that love and level of expectations or completely run the course to hopelessness and crapitude. The is a lot to be learned in the phase in which enamour with an object turns to boredom or disappointment. Being sensitive to the little things that turn a piece in either direction has helped me to realize that some of the decisions that seem to be more important are, on occasion, only beneficiaries of popular perspective.

11/22/15



I'm impressed, and infatuated. There is a look, just at the end, but before the after. It's genuine, it's proud. It is modest where it may not be someday. Beatutiful.

I'm more interested in philosophy than theory.
I'm more impressed with personhood than humanity.

11/1/15

He returned to what amounted to his bed, in his mothers house. The shame of the situation was glaringly absent. He feigned contentedness with that absence by, with only the thinnest veil of sincerity, attributing his comfort with his reimmursion into family life at 25 to the soviet influences of the places he had called home immediately previous, and those of the person to whom he had referred to as his sun and moon remarkably recently. In a more plain reality however he was escaped by most emotions that were tasked to him alone to foster. Shame, here and now, had rather predictably evaded him.


I'm trying to write a novel, this is one of the parts
I'll post some more maybe sometime



A big part of me believes that color balancing photos is just as bad as hanging everything at 58 on center.

I'm more interested in philosophy than theory, and I am a bigger fan of personhood than humanity.

I've looked preliminarily into selling a kidney at least twice, my student debt is pretty outrageous.


10/29/15


Research art is dead, American art education killed it by convincing everyone they we making Duchamp level conceptual work.. No one knows it yet, but the next great artists won't care about biology, or geology, or sociology. They will care about good art.

There is an over emphasis on concept, something that all art (and arguably all action) has inherently. "Red cup", is a concept just like collecting naturally melting ice cap water and refreezing in in an ice cube tray in an otherwise empty refrigerator is. (dibs on that thats a good idea) If a sign on the wall explaining what the work is about could have accomplished what the work accomplished then the work is un-important. Sometimes the ideas around the work need to be present, for some artist that is always the case, but even in those cases the work, in whatever state of materiality or ethereality it may exist in, has to hold up as a piece of art. It is easier however, and much more straightforward, to be sure that your concept, at least when separated from the work itself, will hold up as coherent thought. I understand the importance, and relative ease of teaching that skill to art students, but conflating it with anything other than just another skill set, one in the material or thoughts and words, is the folly that leads too a lot of bad pieces of art with excellent mission statements. And when the words on the wall are then not an added layer of content, but instead forced into the role of the sole redeeming quality, what is uniquely important about the visual arts isn't even present for an era of art consumers.


I'm sick of book report art. If there is a field of study based on the subject matter of your work, you, being an artist, are most likely not an expert in that field. I don't want to hear about why you made some piece of crap, or how it relates to ornithology, I just want it to be less of a piece of crap. Keep your excuses for making to yourself, and let the work speak on its own.

That being said I still think an artist needs to be able to speak about their work conversationally. They just shouldn't dictate the function of their work, a viewer gets to decide what the work is doing, and an artist is cheating by telling them.

6/28/15

I think being awesome is the only pre-requisite in life and art.

I'm dope, and I do dope shit. - Kany West

6/22/15

Mixing Things Back In:

Its cool, do it whenever. It means the parts can all be freed up. Legitimizing the parts was a focus for me in grad school. Bit parts can be transformed, something like the tiles from this show, which make multiple appearances in other works, can function differently in each instance because of the relationships built with the pieces around them.

On Light:

It is important. Neon is cool. I will state over and over again that I’m a visual artist, light is how humans see. It sets a mood, draws attention to or from a thing and creates whole new forms in the form of shadows. Shadows aren’t cool though don’t overdo it.

Pedestals are often a cop out.


The High Low Problem:

Warhol elevated “low art,” Duchamp did the same before him. But their ideas were not that mass produced objects of kitsch are equal to fine art, the idea was that anything can be fine art. Thinking that putting a snow globe in your work evokes some kind of high/low statement in 2014 is just wrong. I grew up thinking Warhol was boring, before I was old enough to form an opinion on him all of of important actions had been integrated as completely acceptable within high art. High/low is about what is and is not accepted as art, and kitsch is firmly in the accepted category for anyone under the age of dead. Formally there is not much left to elevate, people have literally shit in galleries and most everyone can make the leap of understanding when they’ve done so. Where people can’t make the leap is subject matter. The high/low in my work address the confusion around high/low as practice. Making art about Coors Light is more of an affront to elitist art audiences than selling them your own poo. I enjoy challenging stereotypical gallery-goers by looking them in the eye and telling them that a piece of my art is about fantasy football.


Sample Size:

In statistics sample size is everything. The larger the sample size the less any outlier effects the averages, and the more appreciation can be had for said outlier. A small sample can misrepresent the whole, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be beneficial to analyze one. Events do not happen according to averages, large sample sizes predict outcomes over time, but small ones give better insight into what can happen in individual moments.

-Thesis Exerpts

1/2015


Meaning is stupid, it is consequential. Meaning always comes after the fact, and it always comes. Meaning is unavoidable, malleable, and infinitely plural. Unified meaning only exists in history, and history is a tool. Meaning is then a tool for the artist that understands its stupidity. It is below the senses and and below emotion as it can only exert force through co-opting those things. Meaning should be considered but a concern over a lack-there-of is a fools errand. Like history is is inevitably co-opted and bastardized to fit the needs of a subsequent present. It is a catalogue of known and potential properties.

12/3/14


I'm a production, I'm a production person, I'm a product guy, I'm a producer. - Kanye West

5/3/14


I believe in the value of slow but constant change as an inevitable outcome of a questioning mentality. I'm interested in being where the boundries of that questioning should lie.

5/2/14


Morality is connected to ego. It takes ego to consider yourself above certain behavior that others freely engage in. Ego is then essential to originality and individualism and necessary in art, and moralism can play a much freer role than you would expect when drawing from the more traditional sense of the word.

5/1/14


I think objects are more important than the excuses that bring them to fruition. I don't care why you made something if it isn't an interesting thing. That is why I don't give my excuses for making too often. It's a crutch, I want to be better than that.

4/30/14


I give the 2014 Whitney Biennial 2 dicks out of 5.

Nudity isn't shocking, and it isn't interesting that it isn't interesting. Its just boring, stop it.

4/28/14


My work is a befuddled statement, meandering: heavy on nouns.
My work is the type of channel surfing that happens when a commercial break pop out turns into more.
My work exists as a sort of rolling cluster. I roll around in my element touching upon all types of uncommon ground. My studio practice is the boy that kicks that cluster on down the road. I am the father of the boy, and the judge of where the whole group goes. The boy ultimately has autonomy, and the placement of his kicks decides what sticks to the ball. Ultimately whatever sticks to the ball comes along for the ride.
My studio practice is the feed factory. My work is the presentation of the feed.
I make things.
I collect things.
I combine things. I organize things. I display things.
I stage things.
I vandalize things. I things.
Production is the creation and curation of objects for exhibition. Exhibition is an output: one set in one place for one time. The work happens at exhibition. Composition happens at exhibition. The exhibition happens in the gallery. The gallery is in the art world. The art world is the context. I play with the context while considering composition at the installation of the exhibition. Production is separate from the exhibition. Production gets its context from time, place, and me. Exhibition is the driver that allows production to be my life. Without exhibition production is much less viable. The exhibition is the driver, and because it is theoretical, something about diversity.
My work is fiction. It is a space for reflection. A thought experiment. A Rorschach test with brighter colors, higher variation, direct references, and broader implications.
Making art is a selfish act, labeling anything as such is to seek recognition. I’m selfish and I want recognition.
See nick make. See nick display. See nick consider. See nick reflect. See nick preform four autonomous actions.
My work is meant to be easily digested. My work shouldn’t mean the same thing to everyone who reflects on it. My work is challenging in the way a children’s book is. It’s really quite easy once you’ve grasped the skill of reading that I am promoting, but if you refuse its still there to look at however you want.
If art were communication it would be defunct. Art is entertainment. Art is a field just like accounting or seismology. That field interests me, and I would like to make it my career.
My view of meaning.
An object has potential meaning. Some clear, some that will never be thought of. But not every object contains ALL potential meaning, and no object contains none. Each object represents a spectrum then. The viewer is able to use their own knowledge and experience to pull from certain parts of that spectrum. Each viewer can access a different spectrum on that spectrum on the other spectrum. The artist defining the work by the spectrum he pulls from the object and mandating that to the viewer limits the freedom of the viewer and sets up a situation of inside and outside knowledge. A successful show for me is one, which covers the greatest amount of the total spectrum while leaving enough commonality to suggest that the work may be worth investigating. Relationships between objects broaden the spectrum of covered potential meaning. The work before me is discordant, but because it all comes through me it shares the ability to coexist in that suggestive way with the help of good display and curation.
My view of meaning allows me think about my work in all the old ways and any new ones, without having to put walls up around any second or inch of the work. I can pull out my spectrum and expound on it and because I think that is what I am doing it will be different every time. My work in its totality isn’t about anything to me, and its better for that. I play with subject matter, themes, moods, colors, forms, materials; but its all play. It’s an enjoyable way of producing art. Gallery artists is a career, and I want it. If your idea of meaning within art is about communication you will never understand my work, because you’ll be looking for instructions that don’t exist rather than reflecting on the experience you are having in real time.

-Proposal for Candidacy
2/14/14

The visual arts world is something of a teenage boy. It denies fiercely the possession of its V word. If we adhere to a model that requires all visual artists to be writers, we are overestimating ourselves and insulting actual writers.

11/18/13


The relationship between the amount of pieces in a space and the time it takes to find the perfect arrangement for those pieces in an exponential one. Hanging a small amount of work can be done perfectly in hours, A lifetime could be spent in a warehouse with a stash of objects without the perfect conclusion ever being drawn.

11/18/13


The block I live on in Kansas is populated almost exclusively by college students. Not a single leaf that falls off of the many trees on this block is raked or dealt with in any way. On windy days in the fall my decrepit block is transformed by tens of thousands of red, yellow, and orange leaves flying in every direction. Laziness is as valid a road to beauty as any other.

"I never work just to work, it's some combination of laziness and self respect" - Harold Ramis

11/17/2013


Source and Subject do not hold more importance in my work than any other set of decisions. I don't think there is an inherent value in the sustained use of a source in terms of art production. In line with this I think writing accompanying the work that is intended to convey the subject of the work is only occasionally necessary or complimentary to the potential of the viewing experience.

11/7/13



Duchamp said late in his career that he "no longer believe[d] in Art, only in Artists." I believe in the much maligned commercial art world as a support for Artists. Art is a constant state of mind, an open questioning outlook on personal experience. Selling art, or being paid to make it, is a rare source of necessary economic income that allows an artist to stay in that mindset while providing for themselves. That being said I believe art has the potential to be more powerful outside of the commercial art setting. Challenges and compromises lay between these beliefs.

4/30/13


I believe to know is to concede thought. Reaching a comfort level with a form or arrangement so much so that I concede rethinking it is rare for me, but powerful when it happens. I question that comfort and assault it with everything I have before letting it lie.

3/1/2013


My studio practice masquerades as something intuitive. It is secretly the consistent fight to find a move worth making.

"I sit for two or three hours and then in 15 minutes I can do a painting, but that's part of it. You have to get ready and decide to jump up and do it; you build yourself up psychologically, and so painting has no time for brush." - Cy Twombly

2/6/2013


In my literal relation of concept to the viewer I try to inhabit the grey area between the empty alienation of modernist presentation and the overcompensating diatribe that pervades much of contemporary art.

"Art is. Whether I tell you or not. - Gerhardt Richter
If you prepare too much for the stupidity of others, you become a part of it." - Ai Wei Wei

1/2/2013


The blistering pace at which culture progresses forward leaves bold contradictions of popular logic and reality.

In this time truth should be and often is completely accessible however, falsehoods are accepted almost unanimously when presented in the correct context. I want to put myself in a position as orator of truth, opinion, and slander of varying proportions in hopes of promoting individual critical thought. Dogma of any kind has no place In an information age.

"I err therefor I am." - St Augustine.
"To err is human." - Alexander Pope.

12/25/2012


My work is often about mining the mundane and re-contextualizing everyday objects. I make decisions to lessen the prestige of my fictional, made objects and exalt discarded bits of reality. I make out of a compulsion to filter and comment on my surroundings, but not everything is given verbatim. Composition takes president over any subject matter not poised enough to take the reign.

I don't believe in blindly following anything, the rules of art being no exception. When I find myself making a decision which for any reason I "know" I should be, I stop and question it. In this way my work lives as a certain form of dissent, even to my own impulses and better judgement.

My work is about the direction and unity found in constant change.

"Every day I think differently, re-evaluate old ideas, and express my ideas in different terms." - Keith Haring

"Take vast precaution only to avoid immobility" - Phillip Guston

My highest goal is to entertain the viewer without an agenda, who simply seeks to enjoy looking at something. If I can do that others will come or not on their own time

10/2012



I make work which has to do with my experience and perspective. This is a cheap thing to say because all artists do this with varying amounts of specificity. I want to be specific to nothing specifically.

Early on I had not been comfortable with the idea that the only difference between an art object and an object is the fact that I say it is one or the other. My work to a point had been about testing that fact. In the context of the gallery I found this to be true of objects but not of art objects. An objet made with the intent of being art seems almost stuck in its role. Perhaps time can invert this.

I believe that what is best for a self is slow but constant change. My interest in philosophy stems from wanting to be able to contemplate where the boundries of that change should lie in my life. My art practice can be seen as an articulation of that change. I hope never to become stagnant, but I recognize that change for the sake of change teaches nothing.

I do a lot of things to lower the prestige of my own objects, I just like to see what they can take.

- 05/2012




Nick Vest