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An Intimate Evening: Local artist Blair Nidds creates her own gallery

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From the host of restaurants, bars and galleries that display creations to the multitude of visionaries that walk the historic downtown streets, artistry runs rampant throughout Wilmington. UNCW graduate and Cucalorus travel coordinator Blair Nidds has been showcasing her talent for quite a while now. Her paintings have even garnered her a spot as part of encore’s Emerging Talent profiles last year.

Originally hailing from Lenior, NC, Nidds finds inspiration in the Austin art scene and through the work of Japanese artist Milt Kobayashi. Currently she renders abstract and heavily textured portraits. Drawing from the familiar, Nidds subverts the basic facial structure of her haunted women series. Her works can currently be seen at various restaurants throughout Wilmington.

A well-disciplined self-starter, Nidds accomplishes things by working within her means. With a passion for cultivating camaraderie among artists, generating her own art show proved a perfect  venture. Similar to her abstract portraits, she takes the conventional and adds her own Nidds flair with the show. She and her sister, Bree Nidds, will be hosting Pop-up Art Show tonight. As the title suggests, it aims to bring spontaneity and will hopefully be the beginning of a new creative outlet for Wilmington. As the sun sets, their house will come alive with the talents of the port city. The night will showcase paintings, sculptures and the like, even crowning a Best in Show. All works come available to purchase. For full details contact Nidds at

10262086_10203893070306011_5792393547253046692_nencore (e): What were your main goals when conceptualizing this art show?

Blair Nidds (BN): Our main goals were to simply showcase emerging artist’s work, as well as to display some of our own. Instead of searching out a venue to withhold an art show, we looked at our own living room as the perfect, controlled space to hang artwork.

e: How long have you and your sister been cultivating your talents in art?

BN: Upon moving to Wilmington in December, Bree instantly asked, “Why don’t you create your own art show? Our house would be a great place to make it happen…” So, she came up with the idea to do a one-night-only Pop-Up art show. For myself, I received my Studio Art Bachelor’s degree from UNCW, and decided to stay in Wilmington upon graduating in 2012. Within these few years of being out of school, I have consistently painted and currently have works hanging in downtown restaurants, such as Rx, 9 Bakery and Lounge, and Canapé.

e: Will your abstract portrait series be featured at the show? What messages are you trying to get across? Are they conceptual or is it more an exploration of  the human face?

BN: My headpiece series will be featured during the night. This includes a couple larger oil paintings I have been working on, and six smaller canvases specifically stretched for the Pop-Up. All of these are based of my visual memory of the human face. I do not reference photos or live drawings but intuitively paint where the mid-tones and highlights may appear on the nose, forehead, lips, chin, and other elements of the face. This results in a portrait that exhibits principal shapes and form, and has a tendency to subtly emerge from the canvas. This series shows my [interpretation] of where the implications of the face should be placed in the painting and results in a haunting and moody visual rendering.

e: How do you feel about curating your first art show at Canape?

BN: I am enthusiastic about curating an art show at Canapé. Fabricated with tall ceilings and spacious walls, the restaurant is an excellent venue for displaying artwork of all kinds: two-dimensional, three-dimensional and installation pieces. Also, the experimental art theme of the first show will nicely complement the artistic display and palate of  food served at Canapé.

e: Who will the featured artists be at Pop-up Art Show? How were they chosen? 

BN: The artists are a variety of talented friends: painters, sculptors, and ceramists. I am particularly excited to display Dallas Thomas’ works. Lately, he has shown pieces at Rx that involve oil paint and drawing on pressed paper– lovely pieces that are easy to take home. Additionally, Jonathan Guggenheim will feature his new series involving shadowboxes fashioned with lights and landscape collage. [It’s] an engaging contrast to some of the traditional paintings of the Pop-up.

e: By not having it in a gallery, you’re clearly generating a more relaxed atmosphere; is the pop up art show meant to remove some of the stuffiness sometimes associated with art viewings?

BN: Having the art show in our house certainly creates an ease to the atmosphere. If I had the choice, this show would be held in a white-wall gallery space. This type of traditional display is undeniably attractive, but, simply, our house was the immediate resource for holding an art show.

e: What was it like to be featured in encore’s Emerging Talent edition?

BN: It gave me a dose of confidence, and provided support I desired at the time. After studying art in school, I questioned if I wanted to pursue painting as a profession. Being selected as an emerging talent, and being able to show, in print, that I am an artist, motivated me to focus and seriously continue making more art.

e: Who will be providing libations?

BN: We will have an assortment of drinks on the house.

e: Who is judging  Best in Show?

BN: We will have a ballot box, where guests can vote for their favorite piece. The prize is to be announced…

e: What are your future plans for Pop-up?Are you already planning a second venture or seeing how this one goes?

BN: We are just going to see how this show goes, with hopes to do another one in the future.


Pop-up Art Show

Friday, May 23rd
8 p.m.

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  1. Barry

    May 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Encore always provides interesting articles and event publicity for all art interest levels. With all the venues in Wilmington, you will always find what you seek.

    • encore

      May 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Thanks so much, Barry! We appreciate your readership. —Shea

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