An Exclusive Interview with NICK ERVINCK
Art Market|Issue #50 August 2020
NICK ERVINCK (° 1981) graduated in 2003 from the KASK (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent) with a master's degree in Mixed Media.
Paula Soito

He then trained in computer modeling, sculpting, and working with materials such as polyester, plaster, and wood. After teaching at art academies in Tielt, Menen, and Kortrijk (2004-2012), he returned to the KASK to spend three years as a visiting professor. His work consists of large installations, handmade and 3D printed sculptures, ceramics, prints, drawings, lightboxes, and animated films.

Ervinck is fascinated by the negative space as he discovered it with classical sculptors such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The finding that a hole in matter is such a young idea will probably haunt him for the rest of his life. As a child of his time, he plays a varying game between the physical and virtual world, using both classic and new craftsmanship (computers, 3D printing, and milling).

From here, he explores in his own unique way classical themes such as a man (with a focus on his anatomy and the emergence of cyborgs), plants (especially their genetic manipulation), masks and animals, always starting from an (art) historical background that he cut with contemporary pop and sci-fi culture. He has received several international prizes, including the Prix Godecharle (2005), The Fortis Young One's Award (2006), the Provincial Prize for Fine Arts West Flanders (2006), and the Rodenbach Fund Award (2008). In 2013 Ervinck also won the prestigious Merit CODA Award for his art integration IMAGROD.

In 2009 Ervinck was praised for WARSUBEC, a monumental project created for the Zebrastraat cultural site in Ghent. Many public and private assignments also followed, including EGNOABER, Emmen; IMAGROD, Ostend; REWAUTAL, Sotogrande; LUCE, Amersfoort; TSENABO, Tielt; and WIBIETOE, Anderlecht.

In 2009 he moved to an old workshop and transformed it into an artist's studio. He founded Studio Nick Ervinck in 2011.

His work has been acquired by art collectors around the world and shown in solo and group exhibitions at NRWForum Düsseldorf; Ars Electronics, Linz; MARTa, Herford; Paul Valéry Museum, Sète; Fenaille Museum, Rodez; Laboral, Gijon; Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen; Bozar, Brussels; Brakke Grond, Amsterdam; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Gallo-Roman Museum, Tongeren; Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; Museum M, Leuven; the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent and the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp.

Outside Europe, Ervinck took his first steps with group exhibitions in UNArt Center, Shanghai; MOCA, Shanghai; Axiom, Tokyo; Oya Stone Mine, Tokyo; Northern Arizona University Art Museum, Flagstaff and Chamber, New York.

In 2019, at the request of the City Council of St. Petersburg, Florida, he was commissioned to create a public sculpture in bronze, OLNETOPIA. In 2020, he was asked by the Chinese government to create ALUNIK for the Shenzhen World Conventions & Exhibition Center in Shanghai. In 2021, a large solo museum exhibition is planned for him in Häme Castle, organized by the National Museum of Finland. In addition to some 50 works inside and outside, a new monumental installation will also be presented here. A voluminous monograph will also be published in response to this exhibition.

Nick Ervinck lives in Lichtervelde with his wife Kaat and their three children, Lene, Ida, and Thor.

An Exclusive Interview with

By Paula Soito ERVINCK

Paula Soito: Hello, Nick, Can you tell me about when your journey into the arts began? At what age did you first know you would become an artist?

Nick Ervinck: I'm sure it all started for any artist as you were born on this planet. I was addicted to Legos, and I think up to the age of 14, it was the only toy I ever asked for. I was always building. The only thing to get me outside in the summer was to play, build in the sandbox where I was lost for hours. Step by step, you come to an age where playing with toys seems childish. At around age thirteen, I was introduced to the computer. It was again, another addiction. Playing and 'building' games like SimCity, SimTower, PizzaTycoon, ThemePark, Settlers, etc... By the summer of age 15, I was getting up around noon and playing at night.

Art was never a topic in our home when I was growing up. I never visited museums in my youth. I was often creative, but making the leap into art was certainly not easy. I started off studying economics, and fortunately for me, this subject soon lost its appeal. As a result, I was not the best student. The school didn't interest me. But being introduced to the arts opened a whole new world—a world of interest where the school was suddenly not an obligation, but a joy. Architecture has always fascinated me, so it was my first choice when I switched to art school.

But the lessons on perspective theory didn't interest me, and the scale models I made were not always feasible because I wanted to go beyond what was being offered to me in the course. In retrospect, I did develop spatial awareness by taking these classes, which I considered boring.

After a year, I switched to ceramics and graphic design. When I discovered software such as Photoshop, a whole new world opened up to me. I suddenly realized that it was possible to do a lot more with a computer than just play games. When I was 18, therefore, I looked for an art course where everything was allowed. A utopian idea, of course, but in fact, I ended up in a very multifaceted course. I studied 3D multimedia at Ghent Academy. There we studied subjects such as exhibition design, film, and photography. My focus was primarily on performance and video art, and I played around with computer effects. However, I didn't really find my way until I switched into a Mixed Media course. There, I gradually found my feet.

P.S.: You are quite well-taught as an artist graduating with your master's degree in Mixed Media from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. How did your studies prepare you for the style and medium you use now in your art? What or who drew you to your current style?

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