Eszter Augustine-Sziksz is a European artist and has traveled and lived in several countries from Asia to Europe. Eszter's work blends papermaking, installation and video elements. She is an active artist shown at the regional and international level from Tokyo to Budapest. Her works were recently shown at the Santorini Art Biennial, International Artists Collective Museo del Brigantaggio, Itri, Italy and the Krakow International Print Triennial. After earning a BA from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Eszter made her way to Memphis College of Art where she completed an MFA degree in printmaking. She is currently an instructor at the University of Memphis and Memphis College of Art.
Nikkila Carroll is an active artist based in Memphis, Tennessee where she recieved her BFA in sculpture from Memphis College of Art. Her work focuses on nature, people, and the symbiotic relationships between them. She uses ceramics, paper, and fabrics to convey these ideas in her sculptures. For two consecutive years, Nikkila's artist books have been acquired by The University of Florida for their collection. Currently, Nikkila is an art teacher at the Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School, an all boys accelerated program in downtown Memphis.
How did you hear about the opportunity?
I heard about ICEHOTEL as a child, and it’s been a dream of mine since to work with them. Two years ago, I decided to call ICEHOTEL to see how they selected designers for their rooms, and they said they host open calls on their website every season. So we applied online and were selected!
What was the most challenging aspect of applying?
Trying to sift through all of our ideas was a painstaking process. Once this was completed, the more difficult task of combining our selected ideas and develop into one concept to design around awaited us.
Why are you two partnering together for this? How does the other compliment you?
Thankfully, our work is very similar, yet each of us work in a different medium. I (Eszter) work mainly in 2D, while Nikkila works with 3 dimensional objects. Together, our art, simply put, is better.
What was the inspiration for your room design?
The inspiration for the room design was the ICEHOTEL itself. Every winter they take blocks of ice from the nearby Torne River to construct the hotel, and every spring, the buildings literally melt back into the river. Thus, our design is focused on cycles.
Around the bed, we will carve cloud shapes while projecting a video featuring moving clouds on to the ice walls. Then, we will carve out circles from the walls, print images on the ice, place them back into the wall with a lamp installed to create back-lit images.
Besides time, what is the most worrying limitation or struggle you might face while in Sweden?
We live in Memphis, and our winters are very mild here. We hardly ever see snow. And we’re going to be building a room out of ice and snow! So yes, we are worried about the cold temperatures.
What is a desirable outcome for this opportunity?
That’s a hard question. Working with different media is always a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Yes, we have worked with ice before, but as we mentioned before, snow in Memphis is quite rare. So the opportunity to work with snow under these circumstances should be very rewarding. And fun!