Working Artists

Nicole Polletta

Photo by Walter Silver/PEM

Wherever Nicole Polletta travels, she brings along her sketchbook. In some ways, it’s her version of a map to prevent getting lost in this world.

“We take in so much in our daily life that can’t be processed in a spreadsheet,” says Polletta. “Sketching is something I have to do. I would feel like I was dying otherwise.”

After nearly a decade in New York City working in art world public relations, Polletta came to PEM for the new position of director of VIP initiatives. She creates one-of-a-kind experiences across the country and around the world for current and future PEM supporters, such as a recent trip to Art Basel in Miami Beach.

While Polletta spends her workday in conversations about art, after hours she prefers to make her own. A series of collages titled Utopian Dystopia recently appeared in MAKER magazine, a new quarterly publication that spotlights the projects of both established and emerging contemporary artists.

It was equally thrilling and nerve wracking, she says, to put herself out there for public consumption.

Polletta’s collages, that draw inspiration from street art, begin by sifting through the pages of art, architecture and fashion magazines. Images with interesting and complementary forms are meticulously cut out, rearranged, photocopied and then transferred onto heavy stock paper through a labor-intensive photo transfer technique. Polletta then uses acrylic paints to create pops of color on the black-and-white print. For the magazine spread, Polletta sought a “punky” and youthful street art look.

For her next project, she’d love to create collages for a fashion editorial and, in the process, tweak perceptions about the perfection people are accustomed to seeing in the pages of fashion magazines.

Growing up Polletta said her family always encouraged looking and looking again. These days her work environment offers ample opportunities to stop and stare. She points to the dappled sunlight dancing across the ceiling of the Atrium. “We get to have coffee while looking at an Anish Kapoor,” says Polletta. “How amazing is that?”

Leave a Comment