In his most recent work, Nicholas Forker uses hero as metaphor to imagine a new narrative for the latter half of the 20th century. Told by faceless astronauts embedded in the mundane, it is the story of the disenfranchised everyman. As the American dream fizzles in the face of unchecked corporate avarice and a culture of isolation pervades daily life, who is held accountable? Nicholas grew up in the Midwest, his grandfather and great uncles before him learned draftsmen. In 2004, Nicholas moved to Brooklyn, NY as the result of a coin toss, where he continues to live and work today.
FROM YOUR DESKS: What Netflix films are on tap?
FYD: How do you work?
NF: The better I can completely cut myself from the outside world, cloistering myself monastically. Only coming out of my studio for food, sun and supplies, I immerse myself completely in my work, not leaving the studio. I turn off my phone and internet, I work on ten pictures at once, moving from piece to piece landing in the middle of each one like a housefly. Scratching away with a humble ballpoint, chopping at canvases with a brush, the less I interact with the outside the more productive I become.
NF: I chose to leave my astronauts faceless because I aim to include as many people as possible. Society does plenty to point out differences. I wish to highlight human similarities. I want the viewer to be able to identify with the image regardless of gender or ancestry.
Murals help take back space and give them to the people of the neighborhood.
NF: I am hesitant to answer this question. There are myriad meanings to the pictures I make. I do not like to describe a picture in absolute terms. My pictures are never “this” and not “that.” I look at each picture as an opportunity to leave behind clues to meanings. Loose threads, once pulled, unweaving a tapestry of dialogue. I instead prefer to leave the description nebulous. Inspiring conversations I could never dream up. After all, the viewer and all the experiences and eventualities that conspired to create that viewer is most important part of any picture. That being said I will share a few thoughts I had over the course of completing “waiting for his pitch.”
I realized in the making of these pictures how much they were influenced and inspired by my father. Coming of age, Adolescence, Fatherhood, Heroics, Adventurer, Dreams. These were just some of the thoughts I aimed for in the making of this piece. I want a loose narrative, speaking to the turbulent emotion of the children of the American experience. I wanted to pay homage to my father’s kindness and patience shown to me whilst I fumbled through my early years like one does the blue-black of the predawn.
I chose to leave my astronauts faceless because I aim to include as many people as possible.
FYD: Have adventurers of the John Wayne type and Native Americans become victims of their “coolness,” where some mass marketing machine is branding them?
NF: I believe the spirit of the adventurer never dies. Only changes forms. The astronaut image marks the paradigm shift in this generation, using it as a metaphor to speak to the shattered sense of community in the face of capitalist driven isolation.
FYD: I was a Spring Street resident circa 2000. How sensitive were you to Cafe Colonial, the beloved East Houston landmark with your Rag and Bone mural?
NF: I look at every mural as an opportunity to grow a little patch of grass in a cement labyrinth. Murals help take back space and give them to the people of the neighborhood. I had this sentiment in mind when I approached that corner, this is what excited me in taking the project. I have hand chosen artists to put a new mural there every two months until years end.
FYD: Wild horses and the native state play a role in your work. Is this nostalgia?
NF: I would like to think of it as a gentle reminder from whence we came. I often see the television whipping people into a negative frenzy over human rights issues. I want to remind those with a over-inflated sense of entitlement that their ancestors were immigrants at one point.
FYD: If you are going to space, what five items are you bringing, and yes I know gravity is an issue.
NF: Provided I have the necessities already. I think I would bring a whole mess of books, some pens, sketchpads and my computer. Oh and tea, copious amounts of yerba mate tea (unsmoked).
FYD: Heads or tails?
Nicholas on Twitter @nicholasforker