Artist Spotlight Series: Lara Nickel

You may easily guess why I was immediately halted by this artist while scrolling through Instagram.

Her large scale realist works are beyond stunning.  

Enjoy getting to know this installation-based painter. 

Lara Nickel

New York New York

What is your training? 

I received a BFA in Painting with a Minor in Art History from The College of Santa Fe in 2007.

What inspires you and your designs?

The more I learned about Art History the more I wanted to be a painter. I mix a classical style of painting with a non-traditional display. Whatever my subject (plants, objects, animals), I explore how my paintings physically and conceptually interact with each other, the viewer, the History of Art, and architecture. I install my paintings up high, flat on the ground, partially or completely hidden, protruding out from a wall, etc.

 What is your favorite piece? 

My current project, “12 Horses – Homage to Jannis Kounellis”, which I have been working on for almost four years. It is an homage to Greek-Italian artist Jannis Kounellis who brought twelve living horses inside a gallery in 1969. My project consists of twelve life-size paintings of horses installed perpendicular to the wall. Not all of the paintings are completely visible from the front of the room, requiring visitors to walk in between the paintings in order to properly see them. Through this project I have met so many incredible horses, horse owners, and equestrian organizations. I also was able to meet Jannis Kounellis a few times, before he passed away, which is one of my most treasured experiences. This project will be shown in New York later in 2018.




 How has your area influenced your work?

I moved to New York City a little over a year ago- I love walking around looking at architecture (and looking in people’s windows!) and visiting the overwhelming amount of museums, galleries, shops, art lectures and fairs.

What is your favorite restaurant in New York?

I am still discovering New York but so far Malaparte in the West Village

and Pok Pok in Brooklyn.

What is your favorite cocktail?

Since I grew up in New Mexico I’d have to say a green chile margarita– extra salt, extra limes!

How do you balance personal life and work?

Honestly, they are naturally very mixed. I don’t know if that is bad or good.

Dream trip?

I would like to see Mesopotamian sites in Iran, Iraq and Syria, unfortunately I’m not sure that will ever be a possibility. Perhaps that is too literally a “dream” trip.

Dream commission?

I would love to paint life-size Greek columns and historical sites.

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

I used to give Mexican hand-painted tin milagros but the kind I like are getting hard to find.

A bottle of wine from Provence, where I lived with my husband and his family, is always a meaningful gift.

Who is your style icon?

Dolce & Gabbana, although, no matter what, JLo always wore it best.

Your favorite up and coming artist?

Augustin Hadelich and Joyce Yang as a duo.

What is your most treasured possession?

The first piece of art that I bought- a work on paper by Rolph Scarlett, 1940s. To me it looks like weird raviolis with the ocean swirling inside 🙂

What are you reading?

I read a lot on the subway:

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen,

Swimming with Dali by Edwin Mullins,

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

What are you listening to?

I listen to movies while I paint, usually silly movies which I’m too embarrassed to admit to. The ones I will admit to are The Burbs and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

What are your favorite blogs / publications?

All through Instagram: AD France, Goop, Green Matters, The Louvre, Flemish Masters

Through email:


A look at her stunning works…


Be sure to follow Lara on her website and Instagram.

THIS horse is my favorite so far as he reminds me of the Gigis

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