Born in 1962, Kim Nicolini is a third-generation native of San Francisco and the descendant of blue-collar workers – Ironworkers, Pipe Fitters, Teamsters, and WPA workers. Kim left home at age 15 to live on the streets of the city her family helped build and where her family’s labor and her body’s history can be witnessed from nearly every street corner.
For her first 20 years, violation, injustice, abuse, and danger were constants in Kim’s life. Growing up in a family where no person or place was safe, she learned at a young age to disassociate to “not to feel” the things that hurt her. She turned to art as her safe place, and would use the arts to express the pain and injustice she witnessed in the world around her.
Kim’s immersive creative voice bursts with fury and compassion. In a mash-up of lived life and knowledge learned, Kim merges her own experience with a broad range of humanity, looking deep to find the intense vulnerability or revelation under the masks we wear in our daily lives.
In 1998, Kim gave birth to her daughter. In 2000, with baby girl in tow, Kim moved to Tucson, AZ, where she has been an active artist and writer while being a working full-time mom.
Hard work and few resources have been constants for Kim, but they don't stop her from living by her motto: "It's always better to make something than nothing." Kim has produced thousands of pieces of art and writing, from small to large, spanning media and genres. Ask Kim how she manages to do so much with so little, and she'll say: "It's what I choose to do with what free time I have." Refusing to allow economics to dictate and restrict art making, Kim affirms: "I've made some of my best art on barroom napkins with a #2 pencil." Kim truly believes that art comes from the spirit, not the store.
In addition to her visual art, Kim writes cultural criticism, poetry, and creative non-fiction. She has published in Punk Planet, CounterPunch, Bad Subjects, Berkeley Poetry Review, La Furia Umana, Souciant, Miami Art Exchange, and Bullhorn. Her first three published art books ̶ Mapping the Inside Out (2011), Dead Rock Stars (2015), and Facing Work are available for sale on Artfire. She has two books forthcoming: History Mashups and Jigsaw. In addition, she has published a number of mini-books to completment her painting series.