Case Study: Nicholas Di Genova

For the past year, Toronto artist Nicholas Di Genova has been slaving away in his studio preparing works for an upcoming solo exhibition at a Parisian gallery called Dukan et Hourdequin. When we say slaving, we really mean it. This artist works so hard that major hedge funds are wagering he is going to go blind by the age of 40 resulting in skyrocketing prices of his finely rendered drawings. Now that he is in the final stretch before his show in Paris, Di Genova has gone to the mattresses, holed up in his west-end studio for the final 90 day push.

Over the past couple of years, Di Genova‘s works have gone macro and micro simultaneously. They’ve grown in size in that the sheets he is working on border on epic yet the imagery he is busting onto those sheets have shrunk to allow for each work to offer thousands and thousands of individually rendered animals hatched from the artist’s vivid imagination and fine pointed ink pens.



18 months in the making, the centrepiece of Di Genova’s Paris show will present 10,000 individually draw vertebrates, divided into 5 classes. This massive gathering of creatures form a massive black and white grid on a single large sheet.

There is something scary about this artist. Scary good. His intense process and method of drawing are certainly nuts. And his ongoing project “Road of Knives“, a series of bizarre, violent, dystopic and phantasmagorical drawings done in collaboration with Zak Smith and Shawn Cheng borders on schizophrenic awesomeness. If Di Genova wasn’t such a sweet and friendly guy who shows all signs of having his shit together as water tight as a Cthulhu Toad, we’d be quite worried about him. But with galleries representing him in Toronto (Le Gallery), New York City (Fredericks & Freiser Gallery) and Paris (Galerie Dukan & Hourdequin) and a rapidly growing list of art world accolades and international fans, we figure he’s got everything under control.

By Randy Gladman for The Ministry of Artistic Affairs.

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