Nickolai Walko was born in Perm, Russia in 1991. He was adopted from a Siberian orphanage two years later by an American couple and moved to the United States. He received his BFA in sculpture from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014.
Walko started to use masking tape not for its original intentions to mask off certain areas for paint to cover but more so to produce high contrast, intricate, and stylized works of art. He was introduced to the medium at an early stage in his career. At the same time, he also began experimenting with copper. Walko has always retained a passion for sculpture and the exploration of resources. His artwork is heavily influenced by anatomy, archaeology, aviation, history, and mythology. He desires to portray forms, figures, and landscapes through these non-traditional materials. Acrylic and latex paint also plays an important role in the work by providing a strong background color or blocks of color to help give contrast to the black masking tape. In a way the tape acts as a skin and the xacto knife, the scalpel. Cutting the tape and pulling sections up reveals the subject matter below, whether it be an artifact, a landscape, or actual anatomy. He produces these works like a surgeon and removing the skin (tape) provides access for the public to view the images beneath in such stylized diagrams or scenes. Through much exploration and research, the work is always evolving.