Nikk at Work .jpg

Nikk Alcaraz, a Santa Fe native, won first prize in the HBO Max reality show Craftopia for his scale model of the Plaza at Christmas with an alien invasion twist. Courtesy photo

Performance artist Nikk Alcaraz, a native of Santa Fe who now lives in California, recently won first prize in a craft competition on the HBO Max reality television show Craftopia for his scale model of the Plaza at Christmas — set in the 1950s and overtaken by aliens.

Craftopia’s Christmas show competition, which will air Thursday, pitted Alcaraz against two others who were challenged to build a Christmas village. His village drew inspiration from his Santa Fe roots, because “that was Christmas to me, downtown on the Plaza,” he said.

Alcaraz, 27, said he felt Christmas in Santa Fe was unique — the tamales, posole, farolitos and chile ristras. “I really wanted to celebrate that,” he said.

But he also wanted to add his love of the weird and the macabre, drawing on influences like film director Tim Burton, the television cartoon The Jetsons, and the immersive arts and entertainment company Meow Wolf.

The 3½ hour competition included a Quick Crafts exercise and a Master Craft Challenge, both of which Alcaraz won. Competitors chose their supplies in the first minutes of each contest and then built their models while the cameras rolled.

Judging the competition were Emmy-winning production designer James Pearse Connelly, street-style icon and creative brand activator Crystal Anderson and miniaturist set designer Caroline Mcfarlane-Watts.

The show, now in its second season and available through streaming, was hosted by Lauren Riihimaki.

Alcaraz used cardboard, sand and plaster to build the adobe structures and painted them with pastel colors. For trees, he pulled apart a cinnamon broom, painted the bristles with fluorescent powder and lit them with a black light. He rendered the space aliens with cut vellum and applied them to the windows of the buildings.

“And it’s all built like it’s supposed to be on a cloud up in the sky,” Alcaraz said. “Like Roswell, New Mexico.”

Alcaraz was raised by his grandmother, Georgianna Dofflemyer. “She’s the one who ingrained that love for peculiar things into my mind,” he said.

After high school, Alcaraz traveled to Los Angeles to study performing arts and earned a degree from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

He now lives in Burbank, Calif., and works as a DIY content creator and performer, creating edible art influenced by black magic and the macabre.

Alcaraz uses TikTok and Instagram to broadcast his work to his tens of thousands of followers using the social media handles @nikkalcaraz and @practicalpeculiarities, respectively.

The short videos showcase him making cakes and cookies, typically with simulated eyes, brains or blood, and conclude with him eating them, all set to music.

Alcaraz’s grandmother recently passed away, “and in memory of her, I create all these things,” he said. “Now it’s my career. And she’s by my side all the time.”

(2) comments

Carolyn DM

So why not include a photo of his Scale Model of the Plaza, being that's why he won the award? SMH...

Christina Tapia

I'm quite sure his signed contract with HBO does not allow him to show the piece until the show airs on Thursday.

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