Niki McQueen is a self-taught artist, graphic designer and visual storyteller, with a background in Marine Biology.
As the world went into lockdown in March 2020 and the COVID pandemic swept the globe, she rediscovered and developed an old technique of making art using solvent printing and mixed media that she learned at school.
Under the psychological and emotional pressure of a world gone mad, she found a way of staying sane through making art. It has been and continues to be a prolific expression of years of unspoken truths.
She has always been drawn to the places and spaces beyond the mundane, and she draws inspiration from surrealism and magical realism. Themes in her work encompass psychology, fairytales, whimsy, humour and the macabre. She uses stock and hand-drawn images to create compositions which express her fascination with science, anatomy, biology and the human mind. Every work tells a story, be it personal or magical – the viewer is invited to explore meaning in their own interpretation of the work.
Since 2020, Niki has been under the part-time tutelage of Ilhaam Stoloff, who is a respected artist, educator and portfolio development specialist
To date (Spring 2022) Niki has sold over 100 artworks, through galleries and social media promotion. She participated in her first exhibition in December 2020, followed by the Coming Home exhibition at the Imibala Gallery in May 2021. She currently has 2 more works from the Where the Wind Blows series hanging in this gallery.
She is proud to have been represented by the Art@Africa galleries in 2021 and has works hanging in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Graaf Reinet, Somerset West and Hermanus.
In August 2021, she placed in the top 40 finalists in the Vuleka Art Competition, where her work was displayed in the competition exhibit at the Art.b Gallery in Bellville, Cape Town. She also placed in the Top 100 in the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition in September 2021, with her work on display at the Pretoria Art Museum. In November 2021, she won the Africa Regional Award in the international Copic Awards 2021. In August 2022, two of her works again placed in the top 40 in the Vuleka 2022 Art Competition.
Artist’s Statement 2021
My art explores the places beyond reason and the banality of everyday existence. It is sometimes purely whimsical and at others, darker and more thought-provoking. The themes expressed often relate back to a longing for worlds where more is possible, or where our subconscious inner truths play out in the collective unconscious. This art is a manifestation of an urgent, unquenchable need for the expression of years of unfulfilled longings, losses, triumphs, lessons and personal evolution.
In my whimsical, more populist pieces, I draw on my love of fairytales and magical realism to create worlds to inspire and delight. In my more serious work I deconstruct feelings, thoughts and societal norms and examine them through the lens of my personal paradigm. My love of Jungian theory, anatomy and biology has enabled me to discover and express powerful and emotive symbolism which is both deeply personal but also sometimes appeals to the depth in others.
I draw inspiration from classic surrealism, street art and several contemporary artists whose work I resonate with. I do not always attach meaning to what I make, although I often find meaning in the resulting work that is both cathartic and enlightening. I strive for authenticity when I work, trying to never contrive meaning or force interpretation on the viewer.