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U.S. Veteran-Artist Nick Collier comes to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park as June’s Artist in Residence

A successful residency is one that inspires and creates growth. It’s about a response to a time, place, and situation. A circular cycle completed.”
— Nicholas Collier, NPAF Artist in Residence
HILO, HAWAI'I, UNITED STATES, June 15, 2018 / -- ISLAND OF HAWAIʻI -- Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and The National Parks Arts Foundation are proud to announce that Nicholas Coller, a Marine Veteran, Photographer, Sculptor, and Installation Artist, will be June’s Artist in Residence near the Park which is at the moment closed to the public due to high concentrations of Sulfur Dioxide, explosive ash clouds, ejected rock, and earthquakes at Kilauea’s summit that began in March of 2008.

In 2004, while supporting troops in Eastern Afghanistan, Nick Collier was driving on dark roads to pick up and deliver sniper teams into hostile mountain territory. He goes on to say the following: “So, on my birthday that year I was driving an Army sniper team. A rusty, diesel, right-hand drive, manual transmission Toyota Hilux (a Toyota Tacoma) with a tape deck and a horrible suspension. There really isn’t anything like driving by yourself in a hostile country in the middle of the night down a dirt road. But one of the funny things about it was that I never felt in danger, although I would have been dead if I had been stopped or ambushed. It actually made me feel like I was at home and not in a war. Like I was just out running dirt roads in my truck. I can still recall it, to this day. Life changing.” That surreal and radiant intensity beneath underlying experience is something that every artist seeks out and hopes to catch in their work.

That marine, Nicholas Collier, is now NPAF’s Veteran Artist in Residence at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. After leaving the Marines, Collier received his BFA from George Mason University, Virginia, in 2012 and his MFA Florida State University in 2016, and will be the Park’s First-Ever U.S. Veteran Artist in Residence for the month of June 2018. There are thousands of veterans who are also artists and the National Parks Arts Foundation is piloting this program to connect them to the incredible & limitless sources of inspiration available at parks such as Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Collier will also produce a presentation for visitors and the public at large, on June 22nd, 2018 at 10 am, at the Kahuku Unit of the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Directions: Enter the Kahuku unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (uphill) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Says Collier: “More than likely this will be a show of photographs but I wouldn’t write off having the inclusion of a sculpture or two. My first love is working three-dimensionally.” The ideas are sure to strike in the unique atmosphere of Kīlauea, now in the middle of its greatest eruption cycle since 1955, and that is just fine with Nick Collier. “A successful residency is one that inspires and creates growth. It’s about a response to a time, place, and situation. A circular cycle completed.”

Collier was NPAF’s first-ever U.S. Veteran Artist when he was selected to pilot the foundation’s program at Big Bend National Park, and the successful program has grown to encompass several residencies at Gettysburg National Military Park, and now at Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP. The core idea is to bring America’s warrior artists to the National Parks to work and heal, and show their work while interacting with visitors.
Collier’s path to the artist’s vocation might have been true but it wasn’t exactly straight: “I wasn't really the typical art kid because I was also an athlete and played sports year-round. After I graduated high school I went off to college to initially pursue a graphic design degree. It seemed at first to be a very practical degree that still kept me in the art world. 2.5 years in I decided to put it on hold and join the military.” says Collier. After leaving the Marines, he was on track to finish his original degree, but never that drawn to design, he was pulled instead towards the studio arts program. From that point on, fine arts has been his life. Though he describes his basic artistic approach as multi-disciplinary, having long worked in a variety of sculptural practices, he has turned to portrait and landscape photography. Collier’s portraits are a fascinating mix of the documentary and the creative power of the photograph.

NPAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. through creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and other generous benefactors. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors of all sorts ranging from corporate sponsors, small business, and art patrons and citizen-lovers of the Parks. NPAF is always seeking new partners and donors for its wide-ranging artist-in-residence programs.

John Cargill
National Parks Arts Foundation
505 715-6492
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