Inside the Studio

Shamira Nicolas

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

To be universal.  I use numbers to construct my paintings. The abstract mathematical sequence system of 0-9 provides me with much needed structure to adhere to, and since numbers contain all possible forms in nature, they also eliminate the need for useless searches into other arenas of our physical world.

Numbers represent order.  Disorder is shown by the breakdown of numbers. There are many ways that numbers can be broken down, and then reshaped into new forms.  Numbers can be intensely emotional. I have shown that in my series on 9/11.  Using numbers from different cultures can reflect the culture from which they come from. I have shown that by using Farsi/Arabic, Chinese, and Sanskrit numbers in my paintings. Due to their simple and geometric forms, numbers create works of art that are abstract, geometric, universal, and timeless.

I believe my use of numbers in visual art has fulfilled the wishes and the promise of both Mondrian and Kandinsky for a universal visual language.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

What we teach you at the Cleveland Institute of Art is not art. What you create out of yourself will be.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I prefer to work in silence. Great music can be distracting.

If you could have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

A small painting by Matisse.

Who are your favorite writers?

Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Their depth of understanding human nature is unparalleled amongst writers.