A New York Hustle: Nikki Tappa

A perfect fit. The living room in Nikki’s cozy Brooklyn apartment

You’d be hard pressed to find a Midwest gal with deeper/realer pride for her hometown than Nikki Tappa, and her home reveals that pride pretty clearly. Though her heart may forever remain in Milwaukee, Brooklyn is where she’s called home for the last year and a half. It only seemed a natural progression after six months of living in the quaint town of Woodstock, NY, while interning at The Center for Photography at Woodstock.

Photography has always been at the center of what drives Nikki, whether road tripping across the country, attending Columbia College in Chicago for an MFA photo program, or making a living, currently as a Photo Assistant for big time New York photographer, Terry Richardson–affording such perks as photos with James Franco.  After much hustling (back when she worked three jobs at any given time), Nikki now revels in her two bedroom Bushwick apartment, enjoying it to herself and two pups, Nietzsche and Amelia; her precious felines Valente and Stella are still waiting to move east.

It’s difficult to resolve the feelings of having your heart in two places simultaneously, but Nikki does so with seeming ease. “I miss so much about Milwaukee. I miss leaving the city and being surrounded by grass and trees. I miss close friends and favorite spots” but she’s astutely aware of all that New York has to offer. “I love my neighborhood and the sense of community. Everything I need is right here. It feels comfortable.” Plus, she’d rather walk three miles to a bar than drive any day. Being from Brew City and possessing an affinity for whiskey means she’ll be walking quite a bit. Who knows if New York is it for Nikki, her seriously free spirit, charm and unhindered sass may take her just about anywhere the wind blows.

Nikki’s favorite piece is not surprisingly made of PBR beer cans (Milwaukee love). Made by Jonathon Linaberry. Salvaged from the garbage in Woodstock, NY. “Jonathon hated the piece so he left it on the front porch before leaving for NYC. Naturally, I took it.”

Antique chest displaying friends’ Cassandra Smith and Jessica Steeber’s Fine Line Magazine

“Golden Eye” taxidermied duck from a Wisconsin thrift store

Nietzsche looks adoringly at mom as Nikki holds onto rambunctious Amelia

A map of Wisconsin given to Nikki when she was 7; mounted antlers hunted by her uncle before he passed away in the 1970s

After storms caused much damage to the spare bedroom, drywall was removed, revealing a beautiful original brick wall

A lone mythical jackalope head is the perfect centerpiece

A slight camera obsession and screen printed “Keep Wisconsin Wild” poster by Milwaukee artist, Alyssa Schulte

Photos of family, friends and cats back home; “Orla, TX” book on right documents the ghost town, photos taken while on a road trip to New Mexico (by Nikki); photo above book is from a found negative

Nikki’s  spacious bedroom

Craigslisted bedroom furniture; bed was a trade for Nikki’s 4×5 camera while living in Woodstock, NY

Nikki’s first art piece pictured left. “American Alarm Co., Lower Level Lobby, 2009” by Mark Lyon (1 of 3). http://www.marklyonphotography.com Prints pictured right from 20×200.com

It’s the little things

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