Nicholas Alley was born on the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1980. He moved from a very old and mildly crappy house close to the city to the suburbs of Northern Kentucky with his parents and sister when he was 9 years old. When he finished high school he began to attend Murray State University in southwestern Kentucky with the intentions of getting a degree in poetry, but he wasn’t very good at writing poetry. He wasn’t very good at drawing, either, but one of his professors convinced him to stick with it despite his obvious shortcomings. And he did. In 2003, Nick graduated with a B.F.A. in drawing and printmaking, despite a rather slow progress in the skill department. In the fall of 2003 Nick began his graduate studies at the University of Kansas where he studied printmaking as well as all of the tangents requisite in any young artists’ graduate program. While in graduate school, Nick learned to sew, improved at drawing and making prints, dabbled awkwardly in the wood shop and worked in a bar. During occasional lapses in his studies, Nick frequented a comedy club in Kansas City where he tried his hand at stand up, with mixed results. In the spring of 2006, Nick graduated with an M.F.A. in printmaking. After graduation, Nick moved back to Kentucky where he became an adjunct professor teaching any class which he might be vaguely qualified to teach. He taught at both Murray State University for two and a half years and became a temporary Assistant Professor of Art at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. He continues to draw and make prints and lives with his wife, Becky, their basset hound, Rose, their mutt, Frank, and their cats, Penny and Marvin.
Artist's Statement I am a storyteller. It is my fascination with stories that drives my visual work. The characters and settings of stories I’ve gathered over the years, both through my own experience and the testimony of others, congeal in often fragmented landscapes and figures. It is in the moments of hyperbole which I find the most fascination. A person relating a memory or something which he or she has witnessed gets embellished just enough to make the story nearly unbelievable. In the Western United States at the turn of the 19th century, tales with those moments of exaggeration were called “tossing in another grizzly.” It is often those very moments I choose to depict in my drawings and prints.