Nicholas Hesson

August 8, 2023

NicholasHesson_Headshot - Nicholas Hesson

Nicholas Hesson

Pronouns: He/Him
Identity: A gay man
Instagram | Website

Introduce Yourself:

Nicholas is an MFA candidate in Metal Design at East Carolina University graduating in the Spring of 2023. He utilizes traditional metalsmithing and enameling techniques alongside modern additive manufacturing and production methods. He received his Associate of Fine Arts with Honors from Bucks County Community College in 2017 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Spring 2020. Nicholas wears many hats as a studio technician, designer, and art educator.


Tell us about your work:

My work examines how we choose to represent, remember, and memorialize those who have died. I investigate this idea through enameled vessels, jewelry, and objects that explore the sentimental attachment to the physical form of someone and how we heal from that absence. I utilize iconography drawn from anatomical structures, memento mori, cultural, and religious traditions as I create urns, shrines, and vessels to hold the memories of people. I investigate how human beings interact with what we hold sacred, what legacies we leave behind, and how we create and carry those connections.

Transcendence Urn, Vitreous Enamel, Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, Copper, Stainless Steel. 2022

How did you start your metalsmithing/materialsmithing/adornment journey?

I was lucky enough to attend a great public high school where I took my first metals and jewelry class which set me on my trajectory pursuing it in higher education.

How does your identity relate to your work? If at all?

I don’t find that my identify personifies itself in my work much if at all. I have moments where I am inclined to make a piece about sexuality or identity like in the brooch I submitted here, but it’s something that I have not actively pursued to incorporate into larger bodies of work.

Dirty Little, Slutty Little, Brooch, Vitreous Enamel, Copper, Brass. 2023

What are the main concepts in your work?

Process is very important to me. In my opinion, the act of enameling can be laborious and meticulous, which creates a more intimate relationship between artist and object, object and viewer, and viewer and artist. As I try to create give agency to the vessels, I create the personal connection to others plays a huge role in decision making.

Can you share a bit about your conceptual development?

I hardly know the end result of a project as I start it. I have a vision in my head, but it takes several test tiles and samples before the work really takes shape.

Concrete Sentiments Urn, Vitreous Enamel, Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, Copper. 2022

How do you take a break and reset?

Reading or playing video games is a must to de-stress.

What is your favorite tool, material, or process? 

Well, the obvious answer for me would be all of them! I really enjoy various different methods of working; I try to be fluid in my thinking allowing all possibilities to be explored.

What is something no one has ever asked you that you would like to answer?

I don’t have an answer for this!

What do you want to see in the field in order for it be more supportive?

I think our field is a fairly supportive community of peers that are genuinely kind and generous with sharing their experiences and knowledge. I think artists tend to be more understanding and accepting of others, and all I could wish for is for everyone to be like that.


*** All interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity


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