'As the Crow Flies, Fly in Amber' (Skin Graft #1, IconoGraphix, 1992).

Paul Nitsche is an American graphic designer, sculptor, lithographer and illustrator based in Ridgeway, Wisconsin. After starting out in the Chicago punk scene, making indie comix for the SKiN GRAPH Records label and imprint, he specialized in making works of fine art inspired by the human body.

Education and influences
Paul Nitsche studied at the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois, graduating with a BFA in 1992. Important inspirations to him are comic book artist and designer Chris Ware and Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731), a Dutch anatomist who created elegant dioramas from self-harvested, preserved organs and fetal skeletons.

SKiN GRAFT Comix
While still at art school, Nitsche teamed up with fellow students Mark Fischer and Rob Syers, who ran the indie comix imprint SKiN GRAFT Comix. After contributing to their DIY comic zine SKiN GRAFT and releasing his own mini-comic 'Dirgedenoctic' (1991)on their imprint, he went along when the publishing imprint became a record label. SKiN GRAFT Records focused on joining their self-published comix with LP and single releases from punk and noise rock bands. Between 1993 and 1996, Paul Nitsche did most of the graphic work for Dazzling Killmen, a post-hardcore band from the St. Louis, Missouri area. Between 1995 and 2004, he also did the graphic work for the darkwave musical duo Oneiroid Psychosis, who were on the Decibel and COP International labels.


'Dirgedenoctic' (1991).

Fine art
Paul Nitsche eventually relocated to Ridgeway in rural southwestern Wisonsin, where he owns a 1895 church that serves as his home and studio. While he was mainly doing astract painting at art school, he gradually shifted to creating works of art inspired by historical representations of the human body, more specifically the "fragility and pathos of our corporeal passage", as he puts it himself. Tackling themes like illness and growth, beauty and decay and dream and time, he works in several artistic disciplines, evoking the craft and aesthetics of the Romantic and Victorian Ages of Science. Using reliquaries of human bone and figurines of paper, besides more traditional material, Nitsche creates moody pieces of sequential art, collages, sculptures, paper dolls and automata, a mechanical sculpture made of simple materials that brings a story to life. Paul Nitsche's art has been exhibited in both solo and group shows in several galleries and museums in Wisconsin and Illinois, most often in the Artisan Gallery in Paoli, Wisconsin and the Freeport Art Museum in Freeport, Illinois.


'The Light You Save' (Duplex Planet Illustrated #5, 1993).

Sequential art
In 1992-1993, the IconoGrapix imprint of Caliber Press released two issues of a more professional 'Skin Graft' title, to which Paul Nitsche contributed his 'As the Crow Flies' feature. Besides SKiN GRAFT publications, Nitsche also contributed a sequential narrative to the fifth issue of Duplex Planet Illustrated (Fantagraphics, 1993), a comic book featuring adaptations of material from David Greenberger's The Duplex Planet, a zine containing interviews with elderly residents of a Boston, Massachusetts, nursing home. In the following year, he also made a story in pen-and-ink on scratch board for another David Greenberger title, 'Urban Legends', published by Dark Horse Comics. Other pieces of sequential art were published in 'The Book of Twilight' by Mark Ricketts (Caliber Press, 1994), Dan Grzeca's 'Chop Fold & Grind' anthology (1994) and the New City Weekly Newspaper (1995).

William Gay Archive
Besides making fine art, Paul Nitsche is also involved in the work of the William Gay Archive, that safeguards the legacy of the southern novelist William Gay (1941-2012). Since 2012, Nitsche has been proofreading and editing unpublished manuscripts for new publications, including the novels 'Little Sister Death' (Dzanc Books, 2015), 'Stoneburner' (Anomolaic Press, 2018), 'The Lost Country' (Dzanc Books, 2016), 'Fugitives of the Heart' (Livingston Press, 2021) and the short story and essay collection 'Stories from the Attic' (Dzanc Books, 2022).


Artwork for inside booklet of the Oneiroid Psychosis album 'Fantasies About Illness' (1996).

www.paulnitsche.com

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