Nicholas Wheeler is an artist, tradesperson, and designer. He works primarily through woodworking and carpentry, and is often oscillating between the worlds of art, decorative art, and architecture. Nicholas received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University at Buffalo, where he studied in the Material Culture research group and completed his thesis on interdisciplinary communities of craftspeople. He is co-founder of 1338 Workshop where he works as a contractor executing custom design-build projects in the City of Buffalo.
He believes that craftspeople (artists, designers, tradespeople, etc.) construct relationships with and within their world so that they may find themselves a part of it, and through this process of self-discovery they push past human needs to create beauty and promote human happiness. Yet, they are being oppressed by the mass-production-driven material culture of western capitalist societies. They are forced to become “professionals” in the over-specialized and segregated disciplines of art, architecture, design, and building trades. These ideological disciplinary boundaries in our society impede individual development and restrict collective communication, resulting in the devaluing of the craftsperson’s work. Craftspeople cannot achieve quality in work and life without the everyday integration of disciplinary diversity and collective values. Without disciplinary diversity, work and life become mundane; without collective value, work and life lose meaning.