MILWAUKEE — "I'm like creating the possibility of fluidity and movement and spaciousness that we can exist within, and this whole cosmology where I have my own deities, and I have my own creature bodies that are all queer."
Introducing the next Artist-In-Residence at the Pfister, Nykoli Koslow.
"It's serious play that I want to engage with others with, and it's just a way for me to communicate who I am and allow, hopefully, other people to do the same thing," he said.
"I like to create these very like biomorphic bodies."— James Groh (@JamesGroh_) March 4, 2020
Introducing the next artist in Residence at the Pfister Hotel. pic.twitter.com/k8F41q6kTj
Nykoli is the first transgender artist in resident at the hotel. While much of his art is about his gender dysphoria/euphoria, "so it's all about bringing those invisible feelings more tangible, digestible, and understandable for myself and other people," he doesn't want that to overshadow himself as an artist.
"I think I try talking around my transy-ness within my art, so I would avoid it. I would talk about all these other things around my art."
The Artist-In-Residence program is in its 12th year. The selected artist is expected to work at least 30 hours a week at the hotel art studio where their art will be on display for all guests to see for free. They will also participate in all four Gallery Nights and other events. It's a time for the artist to have their work showcased in a historic hotel and work on their craft from April 1 to March 31.
All of his pieces are very abstract. He does that too, so his work won't be critiqued and compared to others, but also to create his own unique space.
"The space I'm creating is kind of like, definitely a queered cosmology... I'm trying to create a more alien-esque world. I'm like creating the possibility of fluidity and movement and spaciousness that we can exist within and this whole cosmology where I have my own deities, and I have my own creature bodies that are all queer. So rather than having a religion that is not talking about that, I'm creating a religion that centers on queerness and makes it normative and celebrated," he said.
Koslow is a process artist. His art goes through many different phases, and his inspiration comes from a variety of sources before he starts.
He draws a lot of inspiration from different mythological stories from various cultures. Many of those stories have to do with queer symbols or references that resonate with Koslow.
"I'm picking and choosing from all these different myths and religions to create my own thing that feels - morals aside. We're not going to punish you. There's no hell. It's just a free space to exist and celebrate yourself."
However, some of the stories can be quite graphic, like one of his paintings inspired by the Hindu story of Bahuchara Mata.
Koslow will move into the Pfister's studio on April 1, and shortly after, you can see his work on display there.