Drew Nikonowicz (born in St. Louis Missouri, 1993) earned a BFA degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia in 2016. His work employs analog photographic processes as well as computer simulations to deal with exploration and experience in contemporary culture. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally. In 2015 he received the Aperture Portfolio Prize and the Lenscratch Student Prize. In 2017 Nikonowicz completed a one-year residency at Fabrica Research Centre. He now lives and works in the United States in Saint Louis, Missouri as an artist and owner of the company Standard Cameras. His first photobook, This World and Others Like It, will be available through Yoffy Press and FW:Books in early 2019.
PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: This World and Others Like It
This World and Others Like It investigates the role of the 21st century explorer by combining computer modeling with analogue photographic processes. Drawing upon the language of 19th Century survey images, I question their relationship with current methods of record making.
Thousands of explorable realities exist through rover and probe based imagery, virtual role-playing, and video game software. Within the contemporary wilderness, robots have replaced photographers as mediators producing images completely dislocated from human experience. This suggests that now the sublime landscape is only accessible through the boundaries of technology.
When and where did This World and Others Like It begin?
This World and Others Like It began while I was pursuing my undergradate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2013 or so. I did not initially realize I was working towards a specific project. It was around 2015 that things began really coming together and feeling more coherent. Since then the project has really become much fuller and I at least partially consider it finished. By far the two best experiences that came from this project are when it was selected for the 2015 Aperture Portfolio Prize, and later when the work's merits led to a year-long residency at Fabrica Research Centre in Italy.
Congratulations on publishing this series as a monograph! What was your experience like making the book?
Thank you! It has been an absolute dream making this book with Yoffy Press and FW:Books. I cannot wait to share the book with everyone, including the wonderful essay inside written by Paula Kupfer! I was not able to be on press, but the samples I received look incredible. It took us over 2 years to finally bring it together, but it has been well worth the wait. By far the most exciting step was working with Hans Gremmen in his studio in Amsterdam to finalize the design and sequence. It was an incredibly memorable week.
The book is available for pre-order on the Yoffy Press website here:
For those interested in purchasing it in Europe, FW:Books will have copies for sale soon.
Where do you see this project going?
I do consider the project more or less complete. Now that the book is coming out I hope to exhibit it more frequently alongside sharing the book as much as possible. Though, one of my favorite quotes is "art isn't finished, it's abandoned."
What helps you sustain your current creative practice?
My day job is my company Standard Cameras, where I build large format 4x5's with my partner India. It certainly helps keep photography on the mind when you're building cameras all day! But also spending time with artist friends and discussing each other's new work is a huge part of keeping things moving forward.
What other artists should we be keeping an eye on?