Pictured above “The Observer”
Let me introduce you to Nigel Roper, an artist whose work is currently accessible in three downtown venues. Thanks to Tessa Brumbeloe, a mutual friend of ours, we were able to meaningfully cross paths. I was looking for artists for the Diversity Celebration art show at Trubble Brewing, and she highly recommended getting in contact with him. Later that same day, I was socializing at O’ Sullivan’s when he walked up to me, shook my hand, and introduced himself as Nigel. “Roper?” I responded. He was taken aback of course, because up until that point we had not met. Nonetheless, he answered in the affirmative, and the next day he sent me pieces of his work. It was incredibly evident why my friend had recommended him for a show. His color work with oil and choice in subject matter are unlike any local artist I have met thus far.
During a recent meeting, I discovered Nigel moved here from Jamaica when he was 4 years old with his family. His dad was part of the famous band Chalice. Because his father lived in Chicago, he spent quite a bit of time growing up travelling back and forth from Bluffton to Chicago. While in the city, he was exposed to a plethora of music and artwork available to the public. Food and art go hand in hand, and an interest in the former led Roper to attend Ivy Tech for Culinary & Baking. During his time in school, he began an apprenticeship in Bluffton at Addictions Body Art where he learned to tattoo. His interest in art led him to an apprenticeship in Michigan. Eventually, that came to an end and he moved down to Fort Wayne where he and Brumbeloe (among others) lived together on an art farm of sorts in Fort Wayne belonging to Diana Waldschmidt. His explanation of her home was one of artistic embrace-a place where one could thrive and encourage others to do so in whatever their medium may be.
I am so glad we invited him to be an artist at the Diversity pop-up event hosted by Trubble Brewing. While there, he sold his piece “Lady in the Water” to a lucky patron. I was excited to see that his attendance proved to be worth it. He came with a plethora of oil on canvas works that jumped out at me. His kindness and humility alongside such talent made me want to show his work to everyone I can. His piece “As Above, So Below,” is now on display until March 12th alongside pieces by Jose Cruz, Obie Cruz, Stephanie Wilson, Zoe Verplanck, Samantha Smith, April Weller, and Jeff Stumpp. All works are available for purchase and immediate take-home via cash or credit card.
Since Nigel’s works were hung at the Dash-In, an exciting development has occurred in his life. Jose and Obie Cruz, brothers and owners of Crimson Knight Tattoo on Main Street saw his work and hired him to work alongside them. Currently, all three have art hanging at Trubble Brewing. I am so excited for the big things happening in their space. They currently host weekly “Painting with Bob Ross,” events, have a beautiful gallery space, and are looking for future event ideas. Nigel will be displaying his works in their gallery once the show is over at the Dash-In. He is very open to new clientele and commissions for tattoos as well as canvas pieces. Mr. Roper has done cover art for bands in the past and welcomes the challenge to do more in the future. Stop in to see the space and meet three incredibly local artists all in one place at Crimson Knight Tattoo! I would advise following their page on Facebook for future art events, pop-ups, and new designs available as tattoos. He will be helping to run and promote their gallery space in the future.
Since several of his pieces worked well with other pieces I was going to hang at the Dash-In, and an artist had dropped out last minute, I was ecstatic to encounter Nigel when I did. His pieces are currently on display there until March 4th aside Ellen Mensch, KAT Harlow, Obie Cruz, Sara Auman Smith, and William Jarrett. “The Observer,” “Galactic Giraffe,” and “Torrent” are three of my favorites on display in the Dash-In (see below).
There are a variety of ways to access Nigel Roper’s artwork. His Etsy Shop, “naroddart” has over 80 pieces of artwork including clothing designs, prints, and terrain pieces for DND (Dungeons & Dragons). His Facebook page, “Nigel Roper Artwork and Oddities,” can be accessed to see his recent and older works. If you’re really lucky, you might even just randomly meet him like I did. You can also contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in purchasing one of his works or setting up an appointment with him.
Written By: Jenna Turpin