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Nikki Thompson



Nikki Thompson’s art explores feminism, architecture, and the politics of work through the mixed media of bookmaking, printmaking, poetry, and collage. In addition to being included in many book arts, printmaking, and women-centered shows, she has been awarded a purchase prize in 23 Sandy Gallery’s (Portland, Oregon) Built, an Honorable Mention in Bright Hill’s (Treadwell, New York) 25th Anniversary Book Arts Exhibition, First Prize in Gallerie Renee Maria’s (Benicia, California) Art of the Book, among others. Additionally, she has been selected as a runner-up for the Earl Weaver Baseball Writing Prize and a nominee for a Pushcart Prize. She currently resides in Sacramento, California, with her husband and daughter. Her website can be found at


Both my working process and my artist’s books consist of layers and layers, like the leaves of an artichoke with a heart at the center. While my art is mainly autobiographical, it touches an essence every person experiences — the end of a relationship, illness, family. With much of my work, I have an overlay of social justice.

With the artist’s book format, I can draw, letterpress, silk-screen, collage, sew, write, and more. The materiality — the sensuality of texture, color, weight, transparency — is important in my books. For example, I use vellum in my book Love Poems, which allows the reader a hint of what comes before and after, similar how relationships build on one another. Then the visual language of drawing, photography, collage, typography plays an essential role as well. In my recent book Seasons of Lancelot, I used collage, photography, and drawing to give the illustrations a surreal, minimalist look. And finally, the four-dimensional progression of pages, structure, and engineering gives my books that “wow” feeling, according to people who see them. My book, Collapse, does this through opening out and then “collapsing” once read. Additionally, the details are as important as the whole. In Dodger Blues I have 216 stitches along the edges of the pages, which is the same number of stitches as a baseball.

My working process tends to be fragmented. I will work on one book that is very involved at the same time that I’m working on a chapbook and a zine. My artist’s books, which range from an edition size of 20 to 50, can take years from conception to letterpress printing to binding to making cases, operating this way.

My intention with the materiality, visual language, and structure is to create artist’s book that can be thought about even after the book has been put down. The viewer/reader leaves with an “aaaah,” thinking beyond the beauty or ingenuity of the structure to family or illness or social justice.


Project Descriptions

Seasons of Lancelot, letterpress, collage, photocopy, 4.25" x 2" x 1.5", January 2017

Methods of Work, collage, inkjet print, 6" x 4.5", February 2013

Dodger Blues, letterpress, inkjet prints, book cloth, bookbinding linen thread, closed 7" x 7", open 10" x 38" (approximately), February 2012

Days Without (Sky): A Poem Tarot, letterpress, linoleum block, 4" x 6", May 2010

Collapse, letterpress, silkscreen, book cloth, wire, closed 5" x 4", open 17" x 4", April 2007

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