Spotlight on Artist & Idealist Nikki Pike

Nikki Pike’s fluid sculpture at CSU Spur is not just art—it’s a call to action.

Nikki Pike
Photo by Matt Nager.

Nikki Pike wants to make the world a better place. And she is in the perfect place to do it. As a professor, artist, and activist, Pike has found her home at CSU Spur’s Hydro Building where her wave sculpture Crescendo stands. Her installations on campus, as well as across Colorado, transcend traditional gallery spaces, aiming to raise public awareness around sustainability and women’s rights. Through her art, Pike illuminates pathways to a brighter, more equitable future, serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration. Excited to learn more, I spent the day with Pike exploring the Hydro Building and diving deep into discussions about her artistic drive.

On her childhood growing up in the tiny town of Black Forest: “It was a lot like Stranger Things—picture a gang of kids in the forest on bikes. My family had nothing, but we had everything we needed: Goodwill furniture and wooden spoons for toys. Having a lot of stuff makes you less creative because you’re not forced to make things up yourself. My dad taught us six kids how to use our imaginations and play in the forest. We would dig a bucket-sized hole and fill it with water from the hose, thinking we had just created our own swimming pool. I remember one Christmas, my dad made us a trampoline out of an inner tube that he tried to stretch fabric over. It totally didn’t work for jumping, but we used it to float down the river.”

On Crescendo: “The social sculpture, as I call it, is meant to be beautiful, but it also has a serious meaning. A crescendo in music is the climax; it’s the point at which things turn. So, my question with Crescendo is, will we make it over the hump? The wave might flip the boat or we might make it through. Will we be able to conserve water or not? It’s a serious question for me, because we could fail. Especially if we don’t have hope or love for nature. I don’t think the apocalypse is on, though. Human potential is unbelievable.”

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On printmaking: “Printmaking is one vehicle to give people a voice. I do workshops where people can make shirts and tote bags. You show people that their ideas could be marketable. One of my favorite prints I have made is ‘My love language is vasectomies.’ I have some wildly liberal proposals for making birth control men’s responsibility, too.”

On her sculpture at GreenBox Art: Ovum honors women and the power of reproduction. Its swollen, tear-drop shape is made from ponderosa bark and nestled in an aspen grove. Green Mountain Falls is so beautiful; it’s like you are in the Alps. This is a place where clouds are born. I loved walking up to my little spot every morning to work on it during my artist residency. The same hummingbird was waiting there every time. And I was back in the same forest I grew up in, but this time I was contributing culturally.”

"Crescendo" sculpture
Photo by Matt Nager.