Virginia Commonwealth University

Make it real.

“Unmasked” by Alumnus Nickolai Walko

The Brain_Walko

Showing beginning Oct. 17

Inspired by anatomy and the human form, Nickolai Walko, a graduate of the VCU School of the Arts, has developed a unique and eye-catching form of image-making that hybridizes classical drawing and pop art. After placing a layer of black masking tape on a brightly colored panel or wall, covering the surface from edge to edge, he draws elaborate designs, often anatomical, directly on the tape and then, using an X-Acto blade, meticulously cuts out sections of the tape to create a strong-contrast image. Finally, to prevent tape decay, he sprays the work with a resin.

Given his anatomical subjects, Walko appropriately likens his elaborate process to a medical operation, with the tape serving as skin and the removing of the tape representing the exposed anatomy.

He shared his creations–some of which have been inspired by materials from the library collection–in a 2015 show at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences.


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More images of his work in a VCU Libraries Flickr album