Tomiko Nicholson
Distorted Views​​​​​​​
Each paper form reflects my mental state and self-esteem journey. Every line and shape is a visualization of feelings and thoughts that come with my mental health struggles. The paper expands like a cloud heavy with rain. The repetitive bright lines are like panic that sets in, blinking in and out. The black circles are the waves of it all coming and going. This collection of organic forms accumulates into my showcase, Distorted Views.
Artist/Thesis Statement
While still relatively new, my investigations have taken on an integral role in my work. I am currently engaged in the explorations of body distortion, abstraction, and self-image. I recently explored body distortion in depth through a series of bleach self-portraits. This served as a departure point that has evolved and expanded into my current studio practice. I have also begun smaller-scale explorations of the abstraction of anxiety and self-image. As for my approach, I view the process and the labor I put into creating my work as important as the work itself. The concept changes and refines during the construction process as I make connections between what I do to physically change the work and how that adds a new layer of metaphor.
Distorted Views reflects on the distortion of the world and yourself when you struggle with anxiety and self-esteem.  It relies on the concepts of construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction, focusing on line, space, and form. I begin subtractively, cutting parts of paper away until what’s left are organic shapes that drip and spread along the wall. The idea of subtraction has always had negative connotations for me, whereas addition was its soothing opposite. Taking this subtraction and pairing it with the notion of self-esteem was a way for me to reflect on how fragile the subconscious image of ourselves can be. It’s the process of tearing ourselves down, piece by piece. The act of cutting the paper, however laborious, was healing. The smudging of the charcoal, the repetition of the strokes, and the methodical nature of the cuts create peace of mind as I worked. Each pattern, shape, and line builds up, taking space, overlapping, and fading out but still faintly repeating as they direct my thoughts and feelings forward.

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