Nicolas V. Sanchez

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Nicolas V. Sanchez

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About Nicolas V. Sanchez

Nicolas V. Sanchez is a first-generation Mexican-American artist born on December 22, 1983 in Lansing, MI. His parents, Adriana Valadez Espinosa Sánchez and Jose Honorio Sanchez, emigrated from Guanajuato, Mexico to the rural midwest in October of 1973. This confluence of multiple heritages that bridge two distinctive cultures has had a strong influence on the artist’s life and work. Though no one in his family had a formal art education, Sanchez’s father taught him to draw, and the young artist trained his eye on subjects populating his home environs of rural Michigan. Sanchez received his BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design before moving to New York City in 2011 to pursue his MFA at the New York Academy of Art which he received in 2013. Through the Nicolas V. Sanchez Art Scholarship Program he instituted in 2018, Sanchez sponsors students of Latin-American heritage who are pursuing art education at each of his alma maters.
At the New York Academy of Art, under the teachings of Peter Drake, Wade Schuman, Jean-Pierre Roy, Vincent Desiderio and other influential mentors, Sanchez expanded his studio practice into large-format painting. As a recent transplant to New York City, place became a nearly subverted element of his work. Mexico and Michigan, the settings and their subjects, interwoven across single canvases as in Bloodline (2013) and Birthright (2013). In other paintings, this conflation of place would fall away altogether, leaving a figure rooted on a ground without characteristic, place-making details, as in Line of Descent (2013).
The Academy awarded Sanchez the Aby and Samantha Rosen Scholarship to travel to the Shanghai Summer Studio Residency in China and the Post Graduate Fellowship Award to launch his professional career. It was during this time that Sanchez’s sketchbook practice, evidencing his singular skill with ballpoint pen, began to gain a vast public following. Ever seeking to uplift and increase the representation of Latin-American artists, he launched the NS1 Pen, the proceeds of which fund his scholarship program and programs at the Center for
Arts Education. In his fellowship year, Sanchez’s work began to find its way into the collections of notable public figures; he is known for exquisite ballpoint pen commissions for the likes of Brooke Shields, Carolina Herrera, Liev Schreiber, Georgina Bloomberg, Tina Fey, Neil Patrick Harris, Padma Lakshmi, LL Cool J, and more.
While Sanchez’s skill with ballpoint pen in his ongoing sketchbook practice Herencia (which translates to “inheritance”) has provided him with a wide platform among artists and patrons, his work in charcoal and oil on canvas continue to provide a deeper exploration of the familial and cultural themes that captivated the young artist. Sanchez’s late mother was a seamstress; he was influenced by the bright colors, patterns, textures, and materials that swirled in his mother’s basement workroom, where she sewed quinceanera and traditional Mexican folklorico dance dresses. This inspiration led to his seminal work Folklorico de Guerrero (2020), completed during a residency awarded by Sugarlift and top global real estate developer Related Companies in Chelsea, Manhattan. In this painting, three larger-than-life-sized ballet folklorico dancers emerge from a void-like background reminiscent of Line of Descent. Their forms sweep and arch across a monumental 10×20 foot canvas. The work now hangs in a private collection.
Sanchez is passionate about bridging cultures and connecting with the Mexican-American diaspora in New York City and beyond. To complete Folklorico de Guerrero and the other works in his folklorico series, he partnered with New York City-based dance company Ballet Nepantla and master folklorico teacher and historian Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia in Laredo, Texas to model and create cultural programming surrounding the paintings. Sanchez is also a champion of art for social good; he has been a part of multiple benefit exhibitions and launched initiatives to raise money for immigrant families, particularly those aected by the conflict at the U.S.-Mexico border, in partnership with organizations including RAICES and Kids in Need of Defense.

Travel and community continue to inspire his practice; Sanchez leads drawing groups at institutions throughout the world such as at the Blanton Museum of Art and Rijksmuseum that welcome him and his cohort of artists. He has completed residencies in China at the Shanghai Summer Studio Residency; the Altos De Chavon (Parson’s School) Artist in Residency in the Dominican Republic; the Mori Center in Parma, Italy; and more. His work has reached audiences through publications including VOGUE Italia, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Drawing Magazine, Juxtapoz, Colossal, and Fine Art Connoisseur. He has been presented at the Venice Biennale (2015) and in solo and duet exhibitions at Galerie Mokum (2024, 2019), Sugarlift (2021, 2022), Collier West (2013) and in numerous group exhibitions.

Sanchez lives and works in New York City.

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