By Javier Lauret, Chrom-Art Director
"Life is too short to slip past" - Nico Chacón
I have known Nico socially for many years through common friends from Madrid. He is a person with a special spark and likeability, instantly friendly and approachable; someone with that 'X' Factor so to say. However I could never tell exactly what was behind this feeling you get when you talk to him face to face. It is only through the social networks that I learnt how talented Nico is. It was a great surprise when I started seeing pictures online of his amazing art creations, and now, when I have learnt about his art and creative trajectory, is when everything falls into place and the jigsaw finally makes sense. It is his talent what transcends his personal interactions; Like his art, Nico is multifaceted, bright, beautifully complex and full of energy.
Nico was born in Guasdualito on the 28th of October 1975, in the so-called region of “Llanos de Venezuela” (Venezuelan plains). He was given the name of Nicasio David by his parents Carmelo Antonio and Nicasia. He’s the sixth of 12 children.
He was a restless, inquisitive and diverse child, proving very young a huge interest in the art world since he appears on stage for first time at the age of 7 whilst still in Dr.Julio de Armas School where he performs his primary school. At the age of 9 he already forms part of the local theatre company with a deep involvement in every project while notable for his creativity which always has proven his most valuable quality. He commences Secondary School at “La Granja Agropecuaria del El Amparo” with his acting skills as a cover letter. At the age of 13, he moves to San Cristobal and he’s admitted in a Seminary where he continues the Secondary School. He performs in local theatre plays and even direct some. When he is 16, goes back to his home town to finish the second part of his bachelor’s degree. He there starts his dance studies under the direction of the choreographer Henry Colombiani at the “Grupo de Danzas Nacionalistas Doña Yolanda Moreno”. He completes High School at the age of 18 and plans to move to Caracas to study acting but personal circumstances and lack of resources don’t allow him so he decides to return to San Cristobal and to begin studying Industrial Engineering at the Táchira University. He combines his studies with dance and theatre studies under the baton of the Cuban dancer Ramona Garcia. Shortly after commencing the studies, his mother informs him that she can no longer afford paying for his studies so he decides to combine work and college.
Following his acting potential, he creates and develops his alter-ego “Nico”, a clown character with whom he achieves a remarkable success among the city high-class playing in all kind of events.
After 6 years, Nico reprises his dream of moving to Caracas to keep exploring his true vocation. He enrols in the Theatre School “Luz Columba” under the direction of the great art teacher Nelson Ortega. During this period he performs in plays, musicals and monologues, achieving quick movements to next levels and a scholarship to carry on with his studies. In 2003 Nico decides to move away from Venezuela and gives the leap to Madrid, bringing his dream with him. However, the highly competitive Spanish environment in the art scene forces him to leave aside this dream during 5 years.
After this period, he finds the way to re-start and enrols in the Art, Cinema and TV School “JC ACTORS” under the direction of the Puertorican master Juan Carlos Morales. He combines these studies with an intensive course at “CORAZZA” School of Theatre with the Juan Carlos Corazza in the lead. He participates also in the School of Improvisation “MATCH IMPRO” with Eneas Martinez.
In the personal space, Nico meets his husband Pedro Rodriguez shortly after relocating to Madrid and they are together since 2003.
Step by step, he discovers his ability to write and tell stories. In 2012, Nico writes the script of the short film “Letizia” which finally becomes his first directing work. Also in 2012, he relocates to Luxembourg with his husband due to the latter work where he learns French and enrols in the Writers Online Workshop of Barcelona to increase his knowledge of screenplay cinema scriptwriting, under the direction of Julia Morando.
Nico gives birth to latest project “Shining Zoo by Nico Chacon” whilst in Luxembourg. It is the result of his creative mind and autodidact spirit. After 2 years, and already relocated in Amsterdam, he has created more than 20 hand-made art pieces and is in continuous development with new materials and ideas. Currently, Nico is expanding this project with new forms and designs without abandon his own style which has proven successful.
Looking at your work, I feel it shows a theatrical, almost scenographic influence. How do you think your experience in the theatre world has affected your physical creations?
I think people who have done theatre are always influenced by it in one way or another, making our environment alike a stage. In my case, for example, I developed the characters from the outside in, with attention to detail in everything around them. I think that this way of working has influenced my personal life, it is as if my character had the need to create something that gives him shine and perfectly complements his own scene.
Being a multifaceted artist, which is the discipline you feel more comfortable in?
I felt very comfortable while I was developing each and every one of them. I am a person who puts a lot of passion in everything I do, whether at work , social or family environment and that for me, means that things go well. Not always, but I prefer the satisfaction of having made it part of me. Now in my role as Plastic Artist I'm feeling more comfortable, proud of the fact that something has come out of my head and it is having a great reception.
Who is the person or organisation that has helped you more to continue your artistic career?
The person who has been behind me these past thirteen years of my life is my husband. Pedro has always been supporting me in all my endeavours and at the same time, I have to say, he stops me in my tracks when my brain begins to spin. He's my best and only support, without him, I would probably not be here answering these questions. I must also say that in all the schools where I have been I have been granted a scholarship by all teachers so I could continue my studies, and I also thank them for their support.
Reading in your story that you've worked so hard and have made so many sacrifices, can you comment on what are the opportunities for young artists in Venezuela ?
I left Venezuela almost 14 years ago so my reply now to this question may not be accurate. What is certain is that there are talented and great artists, everywhere you look or go. My understanding is that the country is going through an unforgivable flew of talent which other countries such as the US are benefiting from. It's very frustrating when your head goes faster than the speed of your surroundings, and not being able to find the means to develop your skills.
One curious question. What happened to your alter ego 'Nico', is he reflected somehow in your current work?
The relationship between " Nico " and " Shining Zoo " is the satisfaction that reaches those who contemplate both. Nico still exists in each of the minds that remember him fondly. I think since I stopped performing as Nico, I always had in my head the possibility to do something to fill me and to cause as much impact as my acting did on the people who had the opportunity to enjoy it. Nico's self-confidence helps me deal with the creation of each work boldly and without prejudice. I think Shining Zoo is my new Nico. It's as if something inside me speaks through my work. I like it, I'm happy. This time not behind a painted face and a wig but instead, with a lot of shine...
In plastic arts, how do you choose the materials that best reflect your concept, and where do you get your inspiration from?
I've always been an animal rights activist. Stuffed animals scare me so I decided to explore how it should evolve in a respectful manner. My first was the Shining Zoo Hippo in silver. I decided to create animals in 3D and tried different materials until I realised that the mirror reflected the life that all animals deserve.
You define yourself as a self-taught artist in the sculpture field. Would you have liked to get formal training or do you think it does not prevent you from reflecting your ideas?
I define myself as a truly self-taught artist. Living in an interconnected world of today is about creating accessible to everybody, and I took advantage of that potential. Of course I would have liked to study and train but that does not limit my ability to work with the unknown. I think in my head, the need to create has always been ahead of the need to train formally.
Which other materials or segments of the plastic arts would you like to explore?
I have many projects in mind that I would like to start to develop. They are all based on similar materials to the ones I use, but I want to start creating more varied shapes and abstract objects .
What other artists you admire, and which would be your ideal artistic collaboration?
I have always admired a fellow venezuelan artist named Jesus Soto, who is a renowned sculptor . The images of his works accompanied me in the search for new ideas.
I admire everything where you can see the work behind, I admire the artists whose time and patience delight our senses, I admire artists who changed the everyday, the "normal" . My artistic collaboration would create the perfect scenery of a risky program such as RuPaul's Drag Race, daring and transgressive .
What are your plans in the artistic field for the future?
I'm writing the script for my new short film and I will continue the Shining Zoo.
To find more about the artist's work please visit www.facebook.com/shiningzoobynicochacon