Nik Botkin is a West Virginia artist making true-to-size animals out of common kitchen utensils.
Artist Nik Botkin has been interested in art his whole life. As a kid, Botkin sat in his grandpa’s lap and watched him turn scribbles into illustrations. Fast forward to now—Botkin calls himself “an assemblage artist that likes to make beautiful things out of common materials.”
All of Botkin’s work is based on the environment and nature. “My family has a history of working for chemical plants, and I realize the benefits of both industry and nature. My art is about starting a conversation with both,” he says. “West Virginia is a hardworking state with an industrial workforce, and the state also has a beautiful landscape. I want it to bring together industry and beauty, metal and sculpture.” The state is on the verge of becoming an art destination, he says. “I want to help make that happen. I want to bring people from out of state to see the beauty of West Virginia.”
Currently, Botkin is creating life-sized animals out of common metal items like forks, spoons, and knives. Each piece is a work of heart. For the “Silver Vixen,” Botkin created used more than 3,000 forks and more than 300 hours of work to come to life.
“The main goal behind each piece is to create a menagerie where the animals can interact together visually. Each animal has a natural reaction with the other animals. I use both predators and prey to create my exhibit.”
The exhibit is an upcoming show at Gradient Projects in Thomas. There will be something there for every budget. “Photographer Todd Griffith and I have been taking photographs of the sculptures in natural settings and photographing them as they would be in real life as if they were alive. I am printing these images and displaying them at the exhibit as well. Both the sculptures and the photographs are for sale,” Botkin says.
The show date is to be determined based on COVID-19 guidelines. Follow the artist on social media for up-to-date information on his work and the show in Thomas. @apartmentearth on Facebook, @gradientprojects on Facebook.
photographed by Todd Griffith