Nicoletta Barolini

category: Visual, Visual-Illustration,

Contact & Info


Phone: 914 325 2697

  • New York

Artist Statement

  I aim to create visual art that is inviting, approachable and humorous, yet on a deeper level ponders the paradoxes of our world. I consider life and the Earth to be separate from our existence in an increasingly unnatural, man-made world: life is free and uncompromised in nature, while human existence is self-conscious, forever craving and often pretentious. In fact, most people find a temporary respite from the restless world by spending more time in nature. To this end, I make art for the natural pleasure of working with my hands; feeling connected to materials; reflecting on the patterns that appear in nature; exploring the Earth’s vast ranges of color. Art is a form of social engagement that has the power to reflect all the contradictions of human culture, society, and existence. For example, in the pieces Yertle the Turtle and Flatlands. I deliberate on the struggles surrounding social hierarchies and the self-destructive stress it creates to our natural well-being. While in the piece Man and Woman Feel the Rays of the Sun and Moon I contemplate the need to balance the masculine and female principals of our world, in the way moonlight and sunlight are harmonious yet opposite.

Educational Background

Nicoletta Barolini has a master of art education (Ed.M.) degree and is currently working toward her doctoral degree (Ed.D) in the Art & Art Education department at Columbia University Teachers College. She earned a bachelor's (B.A.) degree in liberal arts, with a focus in studio art, from Sarah Lawrence College and studied graphic design at the School of Visual Art. In addition to her sculpture and painting practice, she is art director for the publication The Record in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at Columbia University and has been a professional commercial artist for over 20 years. Her research interests include the history of art education in relation to the ever-evolving visual art needs of the labor force; particularly, uncovering the degree to which labor force demands have dictated art education curricula historically compared to the present.

Teaching Artist Experience

I have worked as a free-lance and community art teacher of painting, sculpture and graphics in Dobbs Ferry and Hastings. Furthermore, I enjoyed doing an art residency at the Nelson Mandela school in Mount Vernon. I am interested in making art education available to low-income students.

I am particularly fascinated by the historical impact of vocational and commercial art and am doing scholarly research about it at Columbia University Teachers College. For example, American art education in the mid-nineteenth century was driven in part by the promise of socioeconomic opportunity for vocational print designers and illustrators. That promise is now being resurrected by vocations in digital 2D and 3D graphics and illustration. My research seeks to explore how public school art education  is responding. To do this, I recorded the oral histories of two artists, Octavio, and Kevin, and focused on their educational and employment experiences within the arts. The first participant, Octavio a Harlem native, began his career as a professional 2D print and digital designer in the 1960’s and recently retired in August 2015. The second participant, Kevin a Yonkers native, is currently looking for entry-level work as a 3D digital game artist. Furthermore, in order to reflect upon the past and present impact of art education as a means of social mobility, their stories are compared with the historical account of artist Henry Cross, as recounted by Diana Korzenik in the book Drawn to Art. The findings suggest that community influences and social networks were often more valuable than their public school art education.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy being a free-lance and community art teacher. My aim is to influence low-income students to consider the field of computer graphic art.