Nico McGiffin
Apprentice, Art Apprenticeship Network 2023

Nico McGiffin (b.2002) is a non-binary, queer assemblage sculptor investigating the ways in which found and fabricated objects work to bridge the gap between butch-queer identities and highly macho cis-masculinity. They are based in “Vancouver BC” on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (TsleilWaututh) Nations, where they are completing their BFA in Sculpture + Expanded Practices at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Nico is a coordinator of The Object Corner, a student-led gallery committed to maintaining an accessible space for emerging artists and designers to exhibit their work at Emily Carr. Nico’s practice uncovers the not-so-overt homosocial relationship that exists between x-rated queer transsexuality and ultra-masculine blue-collar identities. Drawing from archival research and object recognition, they pay homage to the resourceful and hand-made aesthetics of historical queer kink objects. Combining erotic materials like leather, latex and silicone with second-hand athletic gear, man-cave collectibles and construction tools, Nico focuses on conducting a conversation between “disparate” social cultures, asking the viewer to consider the boundaries of their own identity through begrudgingly merged tools and objects. Instead of erasing the pre-existing connotations naturally carried by readymades, Nico integrates the information their second-hand objects hold into a higher form, splicing socially separate material into detailed, sexually ambiguous sculptures that they like to define as somewhat of a hate-fuck. Casting a lustful haze over the so-called lines that separate hyper-masculinity and hyperqueerness, Nico creates hot and heavy avenues from which their sculptures enter a strangely romantic dichotomy between the stereotypically macho and obscenely queer.