Kimberly Nichols knew she was an artist almost from day one. “I started doing drawings of women when I was six, and an aunt commented that these must all be pieces of me,” she remembers. As she matured, Nichols’ work became a reflection of her own development.
“My early works showed girls with no arms during an aberrant time in my emotional formation; girls with scars appeared during puberty; and wings sprouted on the girls of my maturation into adulthood and self-individuation,” she explains. During this transition, drawing progressed into photography and a series of self-studies involving female archetypes.
A native of Palm Springs, California, Nichols has been hard at work of late on her most recent project, Hundred Proof Bordello. The undertaking marks the first time that her work is not solely autobiographical. “It’s based on an artistic collaboration between me and a woman named Lisa, who I call my muse,” the multi-talent details.
The concept for the series revolves around the idea of a futuristic bordello where anyone can find his or her dream girl, based more on psychology than on idealism. As Nichols asks, “What kind of raw, primal desire was there before the media machine started feeding you images?” The series shows Lisa posing as a series of female archetypes (Backyard Babe, Big Blonde, and Money Shot, to name a few) and is a project that the artist plans on continuing in perpetuity. “I like the idea that I’ll continue to photograph Lisa—one woman—as many. I like the idea that she will also age and grow old beneath my lens as a myriad of women.”
Also in process is a Narratives series, which presents visuals juxtaposed against each other to show a visual short story about some aspect of a female in a psychologically charged situation.