Pose (Jordan Nickel) was born in 1980 in Evanston, Illinois, and is currently based in Chicago.
Named “One to Watch” by CNN in 2015 as part of their international television series that shined a light on up-and-coming creative talent set to be the next big names in culture, modern pop artist, POSE, has been applauded for his inventive ability to take every day, throw-away things and introduce them into the world to communicate something much deeper. While his work relies on harnessing very simple human emotions like love, loss, and triumph, it’s presented in a complex union of vivid colors and layered application which aims for something much more profound than is at the literal, surface level.
He began practicing graffiti in 1992 and received a painting degree from Kansas City Art Institute in 2004. His studio work is strongly informed by his graffiti experience and his immersion in traditional sign painting.
Having shown works at galleries spanning the globe – including Dubai, London, New York and Los Angeles – his diversity as a visual artist is also apparent on grandiose, outdoor settings on six different continents. His aim to promote community engagement and outreach has received press from the likes of The New York Times, BBC News, Vanity Fair and Forbes – with notable examples including the Bowery/Houston wall in New York City, the Wynwood walls in Miami, and the exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit where he and other artists championed visual expression to empower residents to beautify a neglected American city.
Pose is a member of The Seventh Letter, an acclaimed West Coast artist collective and Mad Society Kings (MSK), a world-renowned graffiti crew.
“My artwork is pretty cut and dry,” POSE says. “I’m taking from the world around me – whether it be bits of signs, or my wife’s old, childhood books.” His attempt at making sense of the environment around him started with graffiti, and has matured into a body of work with multiple dimensions and layers that are a pop blend of illustration, lettering and comic book aesthetics. “It could be a shitty bodega sign I saw on the way to the studio, the way gang graffiti got buffed, watching Dumbo with my daughters in the morning, or a deep seeded memory I’m trying to work through,” POSE says.
Pose has painted murals all over the world. In 2013, he and fellow MSK artist REVOK were invited to collaborate on a mural for the illustrious Houston/Bowery wall in conjunction with their first two-person exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
As his work evolves, so to do POSE’s methods of encouraging people to let their imaginations run wild. “I get very obsessed with the work that I create. It yanks me out of bed early in the morning and doesn’t let me sleep at night. I get really high from the relationship I get with a body of work.” Seeing more than just the value of the walls in a gallery setting, POSE has added three-dimensional installations to his repertoire. The result is an experiential art environment that the viewer can live and walk through.
“I try to push my art into new realms by creating new challenges for myself. I get bored quickly if the work seems redundant and I’m not learning anything new,” POSE says. “I find myself the most inspired by challenges and uncomfortable territory.”