Featured Artist: Em Nykiel

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Featured Artist: Em Nykiel

Em Nykiel of CraftyRatCandles
Film & Television, 2023

Artist Statement
Hi! I'm Em Nykiel (they/them/theirs), a multimedia artist and designer working in clay modeling, miniature making, set decorating, and candle making. I am really passionate about bringing worlds and characters to life through decoration, design, and fabrication.

What work do you currently have at ShopColumbia?
I currently have my candles for sale at ShopColumbia! I make candles based on fictional characters and worlds, as well as candles based on specific places or memories, like Chicago. My Chicago themed candles are my main body of work at ShopColumbia and I couldn't ask for a better place to show them to the world!

What inspired you to create this series of work?

As I've experienced it, scent is one of the most powerful tools for evoking memories and feelings, yet it's so often overlooked as a component in art and expression. I wanted to encourage people to connect deeper with their memories of places and their favorite media through the power of scent! I worked at a very corporate centered candle store for over a year when I was in high school, and I've seen the happiness that a candle can bring to someone. My goal is to bring that happiness to as many people as possible by connecting them with their favorite things through scent. 

In what ways do you think you have benefited from being a ShopColumbia artist?
I really feel like I have been given a unique and wonderful opportunity at ShopColumbia to display and sell my work with so many talented peers. When someone walks into ShopColumbia, you know they're looking for one-of-a-kind, special pieces made by passionate people, and it's awesome to be able to sell my work in a place like that. It has really motivated me to create and always push myself to get better and better, as seeing all of the awesome artists at ShopColumbia makes me want to be a better and more well rounded artist. 

Give us an update about recent project/artistic life events; what’s next for you?
As of right now, I've been continuing to develop new candles and put them on my Etsy store, Crafty Rat Candles. As a BFA Production Design student in the CTVA department, I am entering the production season of my thesis film in the fall, and I'm excited for the ways that my research for that project and my being surrounded by the creativity of others will inspire me to create more and more. 

Shop more of Em's work in-store!