Digital Fingerpainting with Nic Gutierrez
I first laid eyes on Nic Gutierrez in the corner of an art studio. She was hunched over, scribbling vigorously away on her phone. Her rainbow colored fingernails blurred together into a massive blob as she swiped back and forth; the plastic bags tied around her wrists as bracelets fluttered and flapped. Her sharp, almost violent physical movements are matched with verbal intensity, intelligence and wit. Nic is a self proclaimed “artist and writer” that, in the past four years, has experimented in a number of mediums (zine-making, sculpture, performance, fashion). As of recently, Nic has dedicated herself to painting- exclusively on her phone.
Let’s talk about your series, @ravepainting, exhibited in the gallery above . These pieces were originally produced and then posted on your Instagram account (now @nailsalonhelp.r). It seem as though you’ve managed to use social media to create a perpetual, ever evolving exhibition. How and why do you use Instagram as your medium?
The series is called “@ravepainting”, which was the handle of my Instagram account when I made the pieces. That account has been through a lot of rebranding and name changes (formerly @after_bob_ross, @strictlypainting, and many many others). It’s been consistently focused on my interests in images and paintings, utilizing photography, found imagery, and both digital and physical painting (check my gross nail art lol).
Painting is very much about balancing compromise and control: between the subject, the producer and the space– more so than other forms of imaging, like photography. Your hand has to literally intervene in the plane.
This account was a brute force way of exploring this balance over the last two years, how [human] control in an image can affect and construct a body (an image body, a human body, a flower) and it’s projection onto the outside world (ie landscapes). The works I’m showing in this gallery are a selection of the most recent products of my investigation into this relationship between image, control and compromise.
What is it like to have your phone be the source of your artistic output?
I love phones, they are such a hotbed of activity. It’s like an extra appendage attached to you, connecting you to endless outward spaces. Fuck I sound like I’m in a bubble. But honestly I am.
Apart from the initial sunk cost of getting the actual device, there’s a really strong #DIY aspect to a phone. You can make work on the go, cheaply, in bursts and then get it out there right away. I might post at 6 am when I’m at some afters or something and I think “oooh Ima make a sketch” or “wait I have a good idea” and put this and that together. It allows you to make work in a variety of hectic spaces. I love that freedom.
What sorts of images or spaces have been inspiring you lately?
I’m a part of a few pretty wonderful Facebook groups, which are like little islands where you hang out with your friends and swap trinkets
(s/o P O S T C O N T E N T).
When I’m bored I find a lot of pleasure in watching live speedrunning (getting through a video game as fast as possible, which at higher levels requires insane concentration and skill) on YouTube and Twitch. I recently bought a sweater from Fecal Matter (@matieresfecales), a fashion collective that just did a residency in NY. Their work is fucking incredible. They came and went with a fury of bruises and I’ve definitely seen more bitches shaving their heads since they left.☠☠
So what’s next for you and painting?
I’ve been looking at images and paintings my entire college life, with two of those years being devoted to hands-on discovery in the field. Now that I am graduating and also coming out / transitioning , so I’m probably not going to make a painting for a long time. Even though painting has been fascinating to me for so long, I don’t think it can answer many of the questions I still have. And besides… I don’t think I’m actually very “good” at painting… lol.
Follow @nailsalonhelp.r to see an archive of Nic’s painting research.
Posted by Cassidy George
on February, 2016