Nicki Adani is a Bay Area sculptor, designer, and painter.  She studied fashion design at the French Design School ESMOD and worked as a designer in Europe, New York, and California.  Before moving to the United States, she apprenticed with a number of artists in Germany.  In 2016 she began studying sculpture, as well as ceramics, welding, and metal fabrication.  


She was born in Munich, with a family background split between Germany and Israel.

The contrast of opposites informs her work on a conceptual level, as she explores how to create balance by bringing together opposing elements.  Throughout her work, she explores themes of empowerment and transformation.


Nicki brings her design and pattern-making experience into her sculpting process, enjoying the challenge of building in wood and steel.  She molds and configures materials that at first seem unyielding to create unusual works of art. 


Her work has been featured at Silicon Valley Sculpture 2020 and 2021, at Burning Man 2019, and at Art Ventures Gallery in Menlo Park. She received an honoraria grant from the Burning Man Arts Foundation for her large-scale sculpture, “Taking Flight,” which is currently displayed at the Petaluma Arts Center.  In 2020 she was selected for an artist collaboration under the Sonoma ReOpening Grant program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. 


She has also been a build crew member for David Best Temples, working on art 

installations for the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Oakland 

Museum of California.


Nicki works in her studio in Petaluma and lives with her family in Mill Valley, California.

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My art explores the connection to our essence, that part of the inner self that is the source of our unique meaning and gift, our own clarity and strength. My intention is to create a feeling of joy, peacefulness, and calm, to help the viewer go inward and examine where their full potential lies, to inspire a feeling of empowerment and freedom. 

Nature is the primary source of inspiration for both my paintings and sculptural work.  

I’m strongly inspired by raptor birds in flight. “Taking Flight,” a 25-foot sculpture that debuted at Burning Man, shows a feminine bird-like figure atop a spoked wheel. The symbol of a bird at the moment of lifting off suggests the idea of transformation.  As we are able to let go, and spread our wings, we begin to recognize our potential. The image suggests the vastness and freedom I imagine a bird in flight experiences when soaring high in the sky, riding the currents of the wind, gliding effortlessly through the air. 

In the horizon line paintings, I explore how contrasts lead to balance. No matter how stormy or calm the sea and the sky, the horizon line is ever present:  still, linear, peaceful, centered and in harmony. The horizon is neither sky nor earth, it is the transition that takes us from tumult to clarity. It is the farthest line we can see, the farthest away from where we stand yet the closest in reflecting our inner alignment.

My paintings also explore how geometric shapes show up in nature, caused by the play of light and shadow. I’m fascinated by the contrasting color palette sunlight creates in our natural environment, especially the presence of dark stormy seas and sky adjacent to sunlight breaking through clouds. This juxtaposition is another kind of contrast, as heavy dark colors shift to vivid brilliance and aliveness. 

My painting and sculptural processes are quite different. In my sculptural work I start out with a finished piece or concept in mind.   I explore ideas in pencil sketches, and often make a maquette. Before I actually start building a piece I use my fashion background  to create a paper pattern. This helps me wrap my head around how it will need to be fabricated.

My painting process works in the opposite way. I begin with no concept in mind, and start by playing with shapes, colors, and textures as I apply varying mixed media. Each painting goes through many stages, and is finished when there is nothing else that seems missing, or needed, and I feel a sense of balance and completion.  

In my latest work I am creating functional sculptural art. I am developing a series of illuminated indoor/outdoor art works that provide  an ever changing visual experience for the viewer. In Reflections, an illuminated steel series, the look and feel of the work reflects the surrounding light and environment, and the colors can change in response to the viewer’s moods.  


All of my art is meant to inspire viewers to examine their full potential, to ask themselves:  who am I and who could I be?