Jeff Nachtigall

About the Artist

Jeff Nachtigall was born in 1970 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, and completed one year of his Master’s degree in  printmakingA print is a shape or mark made from a block or plate or other object that is covered with wet colour (usually ink) and then pressed onto a flat surface, such as paper or textile. Most prints can be produced over and over again by re-inking the printing block or plate. Printmaking can be done in many ways, including using an engraved block or stone, transfer paper, or a film negative. The making of fine prints is generally included in the graphic arts, while the work of artists whose designs are made to satisfy the needs of more commercial clients are included in graphic design. (  at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. It was during his graduate studies that Nachtigall began to identify more with Canadian culture. At the same time, he also became more interested in  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (  and painting.

After leaving grad school Nachtigall returned to Regina for a time. He then moved from Regina to Calgary, Alberta in 1996, arriving there broke. He found a part-time job as a cleaner at Calgary’s Mount Royal College.

“Every morning at 5:00 a.m. I was there picking up cigarettes and sweeping sidewalks while all these well-dressed kids looked at me and thought, ‘That’s why I’m going to college.’ I was faced with the question, do I continue to make art or do I quit?” Nachtigall decided to continue, and since he didn’t have a lot of money he began dumpster-diving for his art materials. This  aestheticPertaining to a sense of the beautiful or to the science of aesthetics.  of necessity still plays a part in many of his works. (Border Crossings, 2001)

Nachtigall’s work is drawn from a wide range of visual traditions, from pop culture to fine art. He combines images from unrelated, seemingly random sources with his own autobiographical drawings in a way that mimics the flow of media messages and entertainment images that wash over us constantly.

In November 2006 Nachtigall began a nine-month residency with the Saskatoon Health Region as artist-in-residence.  He worked with people who have limited mobility and cognitive disorders at the Sherbrooke Community Centre, a long-term care facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Nachtigall and a team of people created a studio program that provides residents at Sherbrooke and day-program visitors with opportunities to express themselves visually. The studio began in a small space, but has moved into increasingly larger spaces to accommodate the growing number of people using it. Nachtigall also worked with the Mendel Art Gallery to create an exhibition of works by 12 residents and day-program participants, called The Insiders.

In his curatorial statement for the show Nachtigall wrote: “Through art, the participants of this studio program have found a new voice – and this new voice has empowered them. This project has been a profound and humbling experience. In a few short months, lives have changed.”

(The Sherbrooke Community Centre has also been the focus of work by Thelma Pepper, another artist profiled in ARTSask. See her work here.)

Becoming a Painter
Conversations with Myself
Creating a Painting
Displaying His Work
Using Words
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning