In oil paintings and pastels, Nicolas Party turns out traditional still lifes of apples or jugs as well as landscapes and portraits, but the Swiss artist’s exhibitions are anything but conventional. Party, 35, transforms his venues into eye-popping stage sets, where murals of dancing shapes coat the walls and rocks might be changed into food or animals with a stroke of his brush. He gives two-dimensional patterns depth and turns three-dimensional objects into paintings, seducing the viewer with gorgeous colors and upbeat humor. It all goes back to his teenage years as a graffiti artist, he says: “You can paint an entire train and completely change the environment.
I loved how people reacted very directly.” Among his recent solo exhibitions in Europe was “Boys and Pastel,” an amusement park–like installation with walls of Matisse-esque birds and trees, at Edinburgh’s Inverleith House. Party says his love of everyday subjects is about “those brief moments of looking at a simple thing like fresh fruit and thinking, That’s beautiful. It’s romantic—but then, I’m a painter.”