My work seeks to question reality, to explore the lens through which we perceive the world. Through my drawings –of the female form or abstract geometric shapes –I encourage viewers to cultivate an understanding of how they make sense of what they see. I love to use pencils, black pens and colored pencils to bring these forms to life.

Even with abstract work, our minds search for something familiar in what we see. When I draw geometric forms, I find it hard not to imagine those shapes and lines looking like something I’ve seen before: a building or perhaps a music note. With other pieces I might get a feeling when I look at them, and I think many people do the same. But what we might perceive –whether it’s visual, emotional or otherwise –is based on our unique backgrounds. Our experiences with the world give us a framework through which we make sense of our surroundings. Since each viewer will come to a different conclusion about my abstract work, it prompts them to become more aware of why they arrived at their own perception.

I also bring up this awareness through my work depicting the female form. Combining elements of realism alongside fantasy, I draw women who look real but have subtle superpowers. Viewers create their own stories about who these women are. By juxtaposing the real with the imaginary, I remind viewers that the story they’ve created may be just as imaginary as the woman in my drawing. When we perceive real people, might these stories that come up for us automatically be just as imaginary?

My work helps people to live in the moment, to observe what’s before them then observe what happens within them. By becoming more mindful of how we perceive the world, we can free ourselves from stereotypes and old patterns and instead learn by paying attention to our own observations and interactions.


Nikki Dance grew up in a sunny hippy beach town called Santa Cruz. The surf, skate and psychedelic art of this vibrant surfing community has inspired much of her work. She loves to be creative, and especially loves drawing, graphic design, photography, and sewing.

She took graphic design classes in high school and college, and in 2011 she finished her B.A. in Media Studies at UC Berkeley. After college, she traveled through Australia for three months, exploring Tasmania and the quirky beach towns of the continent's eastern coast (her favorite town was Yamba). She then moved to Crested Butte, Colorado for a winter and learned how to snowboard, be a ski bum and live in sub-zero temperatures at an altitude 9,000 feet.

Nikki currently lives in Northern California, doing freelance graphic design and illustration commissions.

She was included in ACCI Gallery's Boundaries & Balance exhibition in March 2017 in Berkeley, CA.

She was most recently part of Arc Gallery's Summer of Love exhibition in May 2017 in San Francisco, CA.

Nikki at the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.

Nikki at the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.