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Experiences that made me Nikki Baragwanath

07 November 2022
Nikki Baragwanath, Interactive Projects Director headshot

A bit about me…

I enjoy bringing people together. Community and the connectivity of people and ideas is, for me, the core of our existence. A simple setting of eating and drinking without expectations fosters a flow of expression and encourages new ideas.

One day I would love to live by the sea.

The creative experience that’s influenced me the most…

Living in Ireland and attending the Burren College of Art influenced my vision of the art making process in so many ways. I was really inspired by having my own studio for the first time in my life.

Many of the artists I encountered in rural Ireland focused on the surrounding natural environment and drew inspiration from a deeply rooted knowledge of verbal storytelling and musical tradition. This type of site-specific and environmental contextual work stuck with me and paved the way for my own storytelling process.

Light exhibition work by Anthony McCall

My industry hero is…

I am inspired by Anthony McCall’s light installations and the found object box assemblages of the late Joseph Cornell.

That said, for me, the term hero is something I reserve for individuals and groups cleaning up the earth, feeding the hungry, discovering treatments and cures to sickness, and exploring space.

The piece of work I’m most proud of…

The brand I created with my friend Stefanie called Kenna Nicole.

Named after my niece, Kenna Nicole is a line of natural products that we create and distribute in North America. This company continues to teach me valuable skills such as negotiation, sales, design, and management. It’s a lot of fun and I like working with artists and designers to create packaging and marketing concepts.

The piece of work that makes me cringe…

As a young producer, before my time at Imagination, I worked on an exciting project utilising Realtime technology and RFID embedded pucks. It was cutting edge for the time. To date, it’s the project of my career that was not delivered and completely failed. I learned the power of an apology regardless of fault and the strength of relationship building within a creative team, with clients, and vendors.

The experience I wish I had created…

Any one of Theo Jansen’s strandbeests or Meadow by DRIFT

Advice to my 18-year-old self…

Remind your older self to keep a fire burning. You aren’t too old or too late for anything. All things are in flux.

What’s next?

Working with the team to create and deliver meaningful, artistic work. Moreover, I’m always thinking about ways to learn, connect, and be of healthy body, mind, and spirit. I also look forward to using my experience to help and mentor others.

Nikki Baragwanath, Interactive Projects Director, Imagination Detroit