nik rye is an award-winning artist, graphic designer & illustrator, educator, curator, and grassroots organizer who lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. Characterized by provocative and bold imagery often fused with audience participation, rye’s dogged storytelling is psychedelic, absurd, dark, and frank. First recognized for their visceral illustrations and photography, they now experiment across genres, including socially engaged practice, digital art, ceramics, and performance.
Before completing their postsecondary education, nik rye unconventionally toured the USA as an artist-activist, writer, and puppeteer mentoring under protest artists like Keith McHenry. They studied Graphic Design at Broward College before pursuing Ceramics and Printmaking at Florida State University. At the pandemic’s peak, rye organized food justice and housing rights initiatives as they entered their MFA in Studio Art. This situation led them to investigate throughlines in design/marketing, social practice, performance art, and mutual aid — an amalgam they continue exploring in their personal and professional portfolios.
In addition to social practice and design-based projects, rye is an ardent educator and curator whose central philosophy emphasizes community collaboration and service. For many years, they have instructed university-level art courses, taught workshops, led town forums, and lectured at conventions such as the Art and Social Justice Symposium. As a curator committed to decentralization and postcolonialism, nik rye has successfully facilitated enriching and celebratory exhibitions that uplift marginalized populations and make art more accessible. Experimental and idealistic, they continue to explore the fringes of their practices concerning connection, justice, and innovation.
selected EXHIBITIONS & CURATORIAL
be/longing -- Exhibition: FSU Museum of Fine Arts, FL
Hold for Discussion -- Exhibition & Performance: 621 Gallery, FL
All About Love -- Curatorial: Working Method Contemporary, FL
QuAR(T)antine -- Virtual Exhibition: Performance Køkkenet,
Home is a Body -- Artist Talk & Panel: FSU Museum of Fine
Performing Resistance Together -- Lecture: Art + Social Justice Symposium, FL
Utilitarian Aesthetics of Resistance -- Lecture: Fellows Society
Research Luncheon, FL
BOXED -- Virtual Artist Talk: Art Nunz Vision Train
Citywalk Housing Crisis Town Hall -- Facilitator: City Walk
Urban Mission Shelter, FL
Graduate Student Excellence in the Visual Arts -- Honorable Mention: Keith Stafford Was Murdered (Just Keep Walking)
American Advertising Federation (Student Division) -- Silver Addy: Polychrome Ales
American Advertising Federation (Student Division) -- Silver Addy: BadBabe Lip Crayons
American Civil Liberties Union -- Excellence in Civil Liberties Medal: Houseless Hate Laws Activism Campaign
HerCampus -- "FSU Grad Student Advocating for Houseless Through Art": All Saints; No Justice
ABC News -- "Activist Creates Art to End Houselessness": Keith Stafford Was Murdered
Tallahassee Democrat -- "In This Box: Artist Highlights Isolation": 7 Days a Diamond