The Roads to Creation.

In The Menu by Quiet Lunch1 Comment

“Couple: Pittsburgh, PA, 2011”. (Courtesy Nikki Rosato.)

Sometimes art takes patience; and once patience is coupled with innovation, it can make for an intriguing experience. Nikki Rosato‘s road map pieces — made from hand cut road maps — looks dizzying at first but a simple step back allows you see the “bigger picture”. We caught up with Rosato and attempted to explore the artist behind these seemingly intricate masterpieces.

On her the source of her inspiration:

“My work has always been focused on the idea of portraiture, and how a portrait can go beyond a realistic rendering of someone’s likeness. Recently I’ve been turning inward for inspiration and examining how my own personal path and life-experiences shape the adult I am today. I like to think about how one’s past can leave imprints on one’s physical body as well as affect one’s personality and sense of self.
Not only are our fingerprints, wrinkles and scars a representation of our identity, but our memories, the places we’ve been to, the people we’ve known have all changed and altered the path of who we become. Often it is hard to escape from our pasts. I am interested in the idea that something that happened to me as a child still affects the daily life of my 26-year-old self.
Outside of myself, I am always looking to other artists for inspiration. I am really inspired by artists who are not afraid to be honest about their personal experiences.
Louise Bourgeois has a great quote: ‘Every day you have to abandon your past or accept it and then if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor.’
That is the kind of idea that keeps me making!”

Untitled (Connections), 2010. (Courtesy of Nikki Rosato.)

Untitled (Connections), 2010. (Courtesy of Nikki Rosato.)

Rosato sounds like an artistic genius but she’s actually a talented, and equally modest, late-bloomer. Although she always loved drawing and painting while growing up, Rosato didn’t begin to take art seriously until her college years. Faced with a lack of direction and uncertainty, Rosato was certain about one thing; art made her feel more alive than anything on this green earth.

Versed in painting, drawing, photography and installations, Rosato admits that paper is her most favored medium. But why not painting, photography or drawing? Classified as a visual artist, she explains her friendly bias:

“I feel lucky that both the undergraduate school I attended as well as the graduate program in which I am currently enrolled encourage interdisciplinary exploration. Having that freedom allows me to fully develop a concept and then execute my idea through whatever medium feels most appropriate.
Out of all the mediums and materials I’ve studied, I find that I enjoy working with paper the most. I find paper to be an extremely versatile medium; you can paint on it, draw on it, cut it, sculpt with it. I am also attracted to the duality of paper— how it is extremely precious and also easily disposable at the same time. I am a perfectionist with my work, and by working on paper I have to think carefully about each mark and cut I make. One slip of the knife or of the brush and you can’t go back.
I enjoy the challenge that those tight parameters create, and how happy accidents sometimes occur when you break your own rules.”

Cool map art? No, it’s much more than that. Rosato wants you to know that life is an enriching journey with various unique paths that are both well-traveled and uncharted. She wants us to know that we are ALL on that journey. Then she wants us to see our overall interconnection through our journeys.

Untitled (Connections), 2010. (Courtesy of Nikki Rosato.)

Couple: Boston, MA, 2009. (Courtesy of Nikki Rosato.)


  1. Nikki Rosato beautifully captures the essence of a quote contributed to a famous American novelist and poet: “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
    Don Williams, Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968)

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