Recent Work

January 29, 2014: Walmart Live Better magazine

Some of my work appeared in the January 2014 Fresh Start issue of Walmart's "Live Better" in-store magazine. The project about home organization was to draw empty rooms in which photographs of Walmart products would be placed. I could imagine whatever spaces I wanted, as long as they would fit the items given. Below I've pictured the illustrations of the empty rooms beside how they appeared with the text and products in the magazine. Although a bathroom image was commissioned, it didn't run in the magazine in the end. Thanks to Art Director Daniel DeSouza!






November 20, 2013: Community Supported Art, work in progress

I'm getting twenty-five paintings/illustrations ready for Hamilton's Community Supported Art project. It's a great way to get your foot in the door if you're looking to start an art collection. And an original work by me will be a part of it! As background for the project, Cobalt Connects recently posted an interview with me, which you can read here

Below are some of the works that will be for sale through this project. Each painting of mine will focus on Hamilton, the themes, people, places and impressions of the place. All twenty-five pieces will be the same size (11"x8.5") and use the same materials (acrylic, ink, watercolour on paper) and colour palette.

You can purchase one through the CSA website. The illustrator box, including one of my original works (and the work of two other artists), is $350. Check out


Strip club, King Street


Steel City, Claremont Access Underpass


Hamilton City Centre, York and James Street


Fall tree, Market Street


Second Floor Mural, Hamilton City Hall


Stelco Retiree


Hamilton Bulldogs, Copps Coliseum


Stroll on James Street




Sioux Lookout Park


Gage Park Rose Garden


Flamborough Livestock


Barton Street Detention Centre

September 10, 2013: Darwin's Cyclopean Architect


This week I worked on a project for Paul Thompson and Denis Walsh from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. They co-edited a book of essays in honour of historian and philosopher of science Michael Ruse. One of the articles in the book, "Darwin's Cyclopean Architect", by John Beatty, refers to three photographs of rock formations, and explains how Darwin used metaphors about architecture to explain his concept of natural selection. The publisher, Cambridge University Press, preferred line drawings to photos, so these were the line drawings I produced to illustrate Beatty's essay in the book.



May 16, 2013: Scenes from a marriage, The Boston Globe


The author of this op/ed ruminated on the nuances and well-worn patterns of her own marriage, after watching Ingmar Bergman’s film, “Scenes from a Marriage." This illustration appeared in The Boston Globe on May 17, 2013.

April 8, 2013: Human Trafficking, THIS magazine


Human trafficking can victimize ordinary woman who are forced into sex work in the most ordinary of places, including motels and hotels along highway 401 in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. This is one of the observations made about Ontario's sex trade in an article for the May/June 2013 issue of THIS magazine. This illustration accompanies it.

March 4, 2013: Illness maze, MORE magazine


These two illustrations appeared in MORE magazine in September 2012. The article by Li Robbins was about how we sometimes struggle to be there for friends coping with illness, especially cancer. Working on this piece I definitely thought a lot about the people in my own life who have struggled, and continue to live with the difficult knowledge that they have this disease. Thanks to Associate Art Director Shelley Frayer and Art Director Faith Cochran for their guidance on this piece.


March 4, 2013: What's next for the student movement? Briarpatch


The cover of the September/October 2012 issue of Briarpatch magazine featured my portrait of Sarah Kam in the role of nonplussed Quebec student. The magazine's feature article was about next steps for Quebec student movement prior to the commencing of September classes.

For the final cover of the issue, Art Director Valerie Zinc wanted me to desaturate everything except for red, to more strongly connect the image to the red square, the symbol of the Quebec student movement.

Unfortunately the only student desk I could find for Sarah to pose sitting in was this tiny one meant for a child, hence Sarah's awkward pose in it. While I regretted somewhat the pose, I was rather pleased with my portrait of her. What do you think, does it look like her?



January 14, 2012: National Magazine Award


Thanks to The New Quarterly (@thenewquarterly) for submitting the double cover I did for their "Quarc" issue (a special issue devoted to art and science with Art Poetry magazine) for a National Magazine Award! Well, we're not even past the first post yet but I'm sincerely grateful to them for thinking about it. Also, everyone should check out the issue. It's full of really interesting meditations about science, including an interview with Alice Munro about her story, "Too Much Happiness", about 19th century mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya.

January 5, 2012: Cold War Social Science, Palgrave Macmillan


This book was released by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. Edited by Hamilton Cravens and Mark Solovey, the book examines American social science research and its part in making scientific the ideological war to win hearts and minds during the Cold War period. I was really excited to complete this project as it was my first illustrated book cover! The building featured in the illustration is the headquarters of the RAND corporation in Santa Monica, California.

Art Director: Richard Bellis.
Thanks to Mark Solovey for initiating the project.

December 5, 2011: 20th Anniversary Issue, Literary Review of Canada


Congratulations to the LRC on a really great-looking 20th anniversary issue. For a literary review magazine in a small country, the LRC has always taken itself seriously and accomplished much. I've been privileged to illustrate for the LRC a number of times, and my favourite piece for them was this cover for their November 2008 issue. However, the above illustration was one of two I produced for their most recent issue. Happy birthday LRC, bon fete, et bravo! Art Director: Alistair Cheng.


Sylvia Nickerson
art & illustration

e: sylvianickerson [at]
h: (+1) 905-522-5604
c: (+1) 905-730-3288
t: @sylvianickerson
View my portfolio by clicking through the links above. You can read a short biography about me here.

The Washington Post
The Globe and Mail
The Boston Globe
The National Post
The Dominion
Dogs in Canada
Hamilton Magazine
DRIVEN magazine
Biz Magazine
The Utne Reader
Briarpatch magazine
THIS Magazine
Atlantic Books Today
The Literary Review of Canada
The Coast
H Magazine
The New Quarterly
Book and Periodical Council
The Local Cafe
The Aeolian Singers
Brott Music Festival
Sustainable Solutions Group
University of Toronto
Rogers Media
Catherine Manoukian Violin
Palgrave Macmillan
MORE Magazine
MacEwan University

Copyright 2012 Sylvia Nickerson
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