We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicholas Milkovich and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicholas, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I became an artist out of necessity. I had gotten degrees in engineering and art, but I never saw a future in which I could do both or even become a fully realized artist. I didn’t last one year out of school without art. I felt totally zapped of energy and creativity. In engineering, you still create things, but those things tend to have very little leeway in terms of expression. I was miserable. I knew I had to make a life change but I also knew that continuing art as a hobby would not give me the fulfillment I needed. I enrolled in an MFA program as soon as I put together a good portfolio. School has only driven me further. I will jump at any opportunity to prove myself and grow in my practice.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
On the engineering side, I am a graduate researcher at Boston University, gearing toward a Ph.D. in Biomechanical Engineering by the summer of 2023. My research pertains to finding noninvasive means, primarily through blood pressure waveform recordings, to assess changes to arterial stiffness which is a marker of hypertension, aging, and other degenerative diseases. It’s important to study the materiality of tissue so as to better understand the mechanisms that cause many harm and can lead to death. This side of my journey has been perilous. Accademia, in the way it exists traditionally, is very unforgiving to those who do not learn or create in a very specific way. I have had many doubts along the way, but I believe in myself. At the end of the day, I am fascinated by the microstructures in our bodies. I would go as far to say that there is no machine more terrifying, impressive, and perfectly fabricated than the body. It has led into my artwork. I am also a sculptor and installation artist. My work recently has involved finding a biological motif that I respond to and multiplying it in a space to ‘invade’ or ‘grow’ without restraint. For me, this work speaks to many of my uncomfortable feelings toward the body. The are so many process we have no control over. They can even get out of hand: diseases, cancers, parasites. Oddly enough, these things are beautiful too. Hundreds of thousand of tiny unseen evens compounding to make the event we see in the macroscale. I often use industrial or synthetic materials, for two reasons. The first is to show the body for what it is, a machine just like any other. The second is the color synthetics come in; obnoxiously bright and fluorescent pinks, blues, oranges. This has the effect of making my work somewhat child-like. It suits to balance the deadly-serious nature of the concept. I have often felt as though I belong in neither community. Engineers don’t see the value in art, and artists very rarely see the value in engineering. I had an art professor tell me that artists do not want to learn the rules, i.e. the mechanism the govern objects in space, but they want to break the rules. Even if true, you have to know the rules before you can break them

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Excellent question. Boston is an excellent city for this. First, the best breakfast bagel you will ever have even if it is criminally overpriced, Pavement. This can be done daily though you will feel the financial consequences as I have. Boston is a great city for art museums. The MFA is a classic, but the Gardner and Harvard art museums I have also spend endless hours in. If you aren’t burnt out from that, then the ICA is perfect especially on First Friday where they always have drinks and excellent music. They have a watershed across the river with an annex section for much larger works. It happens to be next to Downeast Cidery which has free drink tokens. I am more of a brewery man. BearMoose is a bit out of the way but worth it 100% with arts events and all the pinball machines you could ask for. Great place to get quarters if you need to do laundry. Aeronaut Brewing is a great art-friendy brewery as well with very friendly staff. Can’t mention breweries without Harpoon, which as the most absurdly delicious pretzels with beer cheese you will ever have. More life a loaf of bread than a pretzel; in my book that’s a-okay. If you haven’t had enough to drink at that point or are hungry for great bar food, the Hamilton Restaurant in Brookline is the place to be for Monday night trivia. Shout out to the best trivia master, Spence, who always has a slideshow of puppy pictures before the game each week

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have so many amazing teachers in my life who saw something I wasn’t ready to see. Colleen Doyle, Barbara Bernstein, Bill Bennett, Wendy Jacob. You all changed my life

Website: milkovichsculpture.com

Instagram: @nicholasmilkovich

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