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Thursday, 17 March 2011 11:14

Exhibit demonstrates a wide variety of visual art

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By John R. Statton
Swift Current
Regina artist Nick Louma has returned home to showcase his work in the Art Gallery of Swift Current’s (AGSC) Mind the Gap exhibit.

Louma spent time between Swift Current and Gull Lake for elementary and high school.

He moved to Medicine Hat College to complete his Visual Communications diploma, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts at the University of Lethbridge.

Upon graduation Louma moved back to Swift Current, until he was laid off from his job, then he moved to Regina.

Now a full-time graphic designer and part-time tattoo artist, Louma also does commission work.

“Last year, I got commission to do some design work for t-shirts in the Netherlands, so I got work there now,” he said. “That was kind of weird: I got an e-mail one day out of the blue, asking for me to do some pieces for them out there.”

Making art his whole life, Louma began exhibiting his work in 2004 at AGSC.

He developed his skill in Swift Current by doing work for local exhibits.

“I wanted to be an artist to begin with, but it’s not something most people do,” he said.
“You just pursue it, keep pushing at it, eventually if you start talking to the right people, everything falls into place, and you realize that it’s something you can do; you just have to find the path.”

Louma immersed himself in the art scene, working as curator for exhibitions, standing on committees, and helping other emerging artists.

“One thing I found was that there wasn’t many people doing it outside of smaller galleries,” he said. “So I started working with other artists, and curators like Kim Houghtaling were very helpful in mentoring me.”

His mediums include acrylic painting, illustration, sculptural works from found objects, and tattooing.

“It’s always been something that I was interested (in), but I never found a venue to get into tattooing,” he said.
“One of my friends from high school was a trying to get me to drop out of my BFA to join him at his studio, but I told him that wasn’t an option so he started teaching me anyway.”

Louma didn’t jump into tattooing headfirst. He knew success in the trade would take time, so he honed his skill.

“I practiced on fruits, frozen animals, and what not,” he said. “I actually worked on my own leg to make sure I was doing it right; everything has turned out fine and it’s been going good ever since.”

He hopes to take formal apprenticeship to become a full-time tattoo artist.

Louma’s works showcased in Mind the Gap are painted wood blocks.

“They literally are doodles and sketches; they keep my mind working,” he said. “You can make neat little narratives if you arrange them certain ways, and each one is a snap shot of this little universe I’ve created.”

The Mind the Gap exhibition is on at the AGSC until March 25, and is a great way for local and emerging artists to showcase their talents.

“A lot of people don’t think about it, but Swift Current and area has a really large art community,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of getting the work that is being produced in Saskatchewan encouraged, and getting the message out there.”

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