Q&A with Resident Nikki Hines

Nikki Hines.jpeg

To whatever extent you’re comfortable, can you share about your project?
“MRR” started as a goofy story I made up during early college that I developed a little bit before setting it aside for awhile, then getting back to it a bit my senior year, and ultimately shelving it again until I dusted it off to pitch here. It’s about a handful of quirky animal characters attending an academy - and the story is like a wad of Christmas lights: it’s messy, tangled, a few lights are burnt out, but it exists, haha.

What do you find alluring about your medium? What capacities does it offer that complements your project?
I highly enjoy traditional mediums, but something about digital I just really love. Maybe it’s just the fancy equipment and programs. While seeing “MRR” in stop-motion would be adorable and quite the sight, digital seems more realistic of a goal whether it would be an animated series or a graphic novel. Honestly, I’m open to anything.

In what ways do you hope/expect 212 will help to develop your work?
212 is providing phenomenal mentors and a fantastic lab to work in - two things that I would otherwise have no access to. It’s not just what I expect from 212 but what they can expect from me (cheesy, I know). Having the lab itself is great; there’s something so invigorating about working in that environment that (at least for me) doesn’t come from a personal home studio. Being around an art community is honestly the best thing; it’s something my home town didn’t have.

Part of the 212 program is that you are assigned a mentor who will help guide you as you develop your project. What excites you about working with a mentor? Do you have any anxieties about it? How do you imagine it will affect your process?
I’m really jazzed about working with Laura on this! Having a mentor to work with is great - especially one as excited about the project as I am! It’ll be cool to see where this whole thing goes, and watch it evolve over the next few months. Anxieties? Mainly disappointing people and letting them down, haha. Having someone who’s been down this road before is so invaluable; someone who can push you and help guide you along.

In what ways do you think working in a shared space with the other residents/artists will affect your process?

Working in a shared lab with other artists is one of my favorite parts about doing this; even if you don’t necessarily collaborate with them, there’s something so invigorating about being around like-minded working people. It’s something I’ve missed dearly after I started working from my home studio.

The character design in Monster Rehabilitation and Removal is diverse and fantastical. What is your process like coming up with such creative designs? What are some of your inspirations?
Haha, well, for the character designs my brain just kind of says: “what if a goat wore a pirate outfit” and then my hands just spit it out. I wish it was a more involved process that sounded professional and awe-inspiring, but instead my brain works more like a random-word- generator for this sort of thing. I absolutely love designing creatures/animals/monsters and such, it’s always been a passion of mine. It may have come from years of gaming, especially when I was young; I was always drawn to monster designs in games, and it must’ve stuck with me all these years. I believe my childhood dream of being a zoologist also played a part into why I draw so many animals.