Summer Vagabond


  • From a limited edition of 10 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A. K. Nicholas
  • Image: 30×20 inches/76×51 cm
  • Paper: 32×22 inches/81×56 cm



A lone tawny-hued figure climbs onto a train car. Our subject gazes toward the horizon, as if to be watching her past transition as she continues a journey into her new life. Seeing a train makes us reminisce of childhood; of a time where everything was easier, the possibilities for adventures were endless, and we could travel anywhere with just our imagination. The vibrant energy of the climber stands in contrast to the weathered train cards, her curves contrasting against the stern gridwork of straight lines.

Close inspection reveals a quiltwork of textures. On the left is a train car that dissolves into digitized square outlines. The car on the right is comprised of swirling squiggles and marbleized streaks. Glowing, out-of-focus orbs hover in the mid-ground highlights. A graininess, reminiscent of high-speed film enhances the texture of the distressed metal and unifies the sky with the rest of the textures.

Although discreet in its presentation of the nude form, the pose exudes eroticism. The warm tones of the unclothed body, pronounced shift of the hips, and athletic posture all emphasize the sensuality. Less obviously, the trespass on the train car suggests a reckless abandon that connects us with a wilder, if only imagined, lifestyle. The image imagines a fantasy world where free travel, sensual indulgence, and adventure are afforded without consequence.

A giant mouth is hidden in plain sight, between the tracks. Once the lips are noticed, the secret feature is unavoidable. The shading on the tracks above the lips resemble the human philtrum, helping integrate the addition. The mouth is a reference to sensuality, without being overtly suggestive.

I was studying the proportions of yellow, green, blue, and red in Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” when I composed this. Bits of green and red exist as highlights and sunlit reflections in the rocks and glowing train wheels.

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