top of page


Nykoli Koslow is an artist based in Milwaukee, WI, whose diverse practice spans painting, drawing, installation, video, and VR. His work is rooted in queer maximalism and alien semiotics, blending abstraction and figuration to explore the trans* experience within a queer, mythic cosmology. Nykoli draws on personal narratives and a rich tapestry of influences, including mythology, religion, conspiracy theories, mysticism, and sci-fi, to create immersive narratives that shape our understanding of the world.

Nykoli earned his BFA from the University of Milwaukee-Peck School of the Arts in 2013. He has exhibited his work in various notable venues, including the Museum of Wisconsin Art's '10 at 10' exhibition in 2023 and the Wisconsin Artist Biennial in 2024. From 2021 to 2022, Nykoli served as the Artist in Residence at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, WI, culminating in his solo exhibition "Queer Mythologies: TransAbstractions" at The Gallery Space in the Saint Kate Arts Hotel in 2022. His work is included in permanent collections such as the Pfister Hotel Legacy Collection and the Northwestern Mutual Art Program.

In 2023, Nykoli was accepted into the fall cohort of the gener8tor Art X Sherman Phoenix Accelerator. He is currently represented by Var Gallery in Milwaukee, WI, where he recently held his solo exhibition "Queer Cosmology: The Making of a Universe" in 2023.


My work transforms the trans* experience into a queer mythos and cosmology through world-building. By spinning my own myths, I reimagine a religion and culture where trans* people are centered as deities and gods, and queerness is the norm. This otherworldly realm, steeped in queer maximalism, thrives on abundance and extravagance. It is a universe deeply anchored in alien semiotics, where signs and symbols transcend conventional meanings. In this space, I explore freedom, safety, and belonging within one's body, identity, and spirituality.

Growing up queer in the '90s and attending conservative Christian schools fueled my world-building as an escape. Now, my art confronts the trauma inflicted by Christianized America, turning its oppressive narratives into a celebration of diversity. Through paint, I subvert Christian Nationalism's regressive morals into a vibrant celebration, transforming binary hate into a kaleidoscope of color and identity. My work reimagines these narratives as a space where the strange and other is not just accepted but celebrated.

My paintings blend personal experiences with historical research to create narratives that intertwine the lives of trans* individuals, myth, and religion. By delving into a rich tapestry of stories, I craft a universe where the pivotal moments of my nonlinear transition—dysphoria, euphoria, and evolving social identities—give rise to a pantheon of trans* deities. These figures mirror my journey, acting as extensions of my identity within a realm shaped by reimagined tales and beliefs.

These trans* deities inhabit a universe where the very concept of 'queer,' drawing from its etymological roots, signifies the odd, the bent, and the twisted, challenging conventional lines and norms. By redefining moral, physical, and social laws, I forge an ideology that is endlessly fluid and adaptable—a space where I can continuously recreate my truth and reimagine my existence. This creative process allows me to insert myself into a narrative that has often excluded trans* people, affirm my identity in the face of opposition, and conceive of new futures once deemed impossible.

bottom of page