Artist of the Issue: Nicole Morikawa ’21


Morikawa painted this portrait of Desmond Teague ’20 last year.

 Nicole Morikawa ’21  is a four-year Senior and visual art student from New Milford, CT. She is the head of ink., UNICEF, and Art Club and the Editor-in-Chief of the Mischianza. Her work was selected for the 2020 National Art Honor Society Juried Exhibition at the National Art Education Association Studio and Gallery and Virtual Gallery in Alexandria, VA. Several of her pieces are currently on display in the Main Building, across from the Dean’s wing.


What motivates you as an artist?

I guess wanting to know more about something or wanting to talk about important social issues motivates a lot of my work.


How has the school helped you grow as an artist?

I was not an experienced artist when I first came to Hotchkiss. I only took the basic art classes in my middle school, just like everyone else. In my Prep year, Mr. Charlie Noyes, [former instructor in art], helped me develop my technical and conceptual abilities. For Lower Mid year, I had Ms. Terri Moore, [instructor in art], who was very influential in bringing me to think further about concepts. I continued some of the conceptual thinking over the summer in other art programs outside the school. For Upper Mid and Senior years, I had Mr. Brad Faus. Mr. Faus was very helpful, especially when going into the college process, because he connected me with alumni, and supported me in terms of portfolio-building and submitting my work to outside competitions. It is always good to have a teacher you can rely on and receive general support from.


What is your favorite drawing style or technique?

I switch around, depending on what my concept is. My technique follows my concept. However, in general I prefer painting. 


What was your favorite piece you’ve created in the last four years and why?

My favorite piece would be “Desmond.” It is a narrative portrait of Desmond Teague ’20. The series illustrates experiences of social biases by current and past Hotchkiss students. It is in alcohol ink, and it was fun because it was the first time I tried it.


What advice would you give to younger students who would want to pursue arts at Hotchkiss?

Pursue what you want to pursue. But whatever it is, you can be influenced a lot by things that you think are right or things that make you think that something is supposed to look a certain way. You should be true to what you want to do, and the things you want to express, even if they are unorthodox.


This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.