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.
Born to a German-Israeli family, Nicki grew up in Munich; the contrast of her heritage informs her work on a conceptual level, as she explores to create balance by bringing together opposing elements. Exploring empowerment and inner transformation is a constant in her work.
Her extensive background in the fashion industry contributes to her sculpting process. She weaves her fashion design pattern-making experience into her work process, and applies it to sculpting with metal and wood. She molds and configures materials that at first seem unyielding to create evocative and thought-provoking works of art.
Her work has been featured at Silicon Valley Sculpture 2020, 2021, and 2022, at Burning Man 2019, at BottleRock Napa 2022, at Julie Zener Gallery in San Anselmo, 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,” 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.
My art explores the connection to our essence, that part of the inner self that is the source of our unique meaning and gift, one's 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. The symbol of a bird at the moment of lifting off suggests the idea of transformation. As we allow ourselves to let go and spread our wings, we begin to recognize our potential. Soaring birds suggest the vastness and freedom I imagine a bird in flight experiences when gliding high in the sky, riding the currents of the wind. Taking on a bird's eye view shows us how we can change our perspective from a limited view to a wider sense of possibilities.
In my horizon line paintings, I explore how contrasts lead to balance. 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’s 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. The interaction of light and shadow is an important aspect in my work, and some of my works are only complete once a piece casts its shadow.
My painting and sculptural processes are quite different. In my sculptural work, I begin with a finished piece or concept in mind. I explore ideas in pencil sketches and then make a maquette. Before I start constructing a piece I use my fashion background to create a paper pattern to understand how it will need to be fabricated.
My painting process works in the opposite way. I begin with no concept in mind and play 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 artworks 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 the 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?