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Light is my paint brush

darkness is my canvas


The Galleries

light painting of back alleys and ruins

Alleys & Ruins

Long after dark, I venture into bleak urban settings, seeking out their elusive splendor. With the city humming in the background, I find inspiration, peace and refuge where none should exist.

 I've developed a need to create monuments out of these shunned spaces. Although positive, life-affirming perceptions are not usually associated with acute urban blight, I feel compelled to dignify what has been rejected.

Background stories, plus behind the scenes photos and videos of my images are available through the Store page

Fantasy fine art photograph

Light Paintings

I sometimes fantasize that with the snap of a finger, I can escape reality ... in a moment, be transported to a dream world free of life's demands, a child's playground where magic exists and all is right with the world.
My Light Paintings are that portal. Through them I can transcend reality and escape into these beautiful, vibrant yet peaceful realms.

Background stories, plus behind the scenes photos and videos of my images are available through the Store page

This Floating World

The Crystals

The images in the Crystal series are extreme close up photographs of chinaware that I’ve re-glazed and repainted.

The tiny designs break down and flake away just days later, but with care, my photographs allow their brief but beautiful lives to be captured forever.

Crystal the Forest Fairy

The Glam Bugs

When I look at bugs magnified through my photographic lens, they become larger than life icons – sometimes appearing as a heroic figure in an epic drama, or a superstar adored by millions; a tragic victim in a cruel world, or a powerful evil villain.



Xavier Nuez is an acclaimed, award winning art photographer who's unusual, innovative and painterly approach to lighting and photography has created a distinct celebration of all things scary, ugly or boring.

The New York Times has called his Alleys & Ruins series a masterpiece.

As he says, "You don't need to stand in front of something interesting to be a better photographer"

He and his wife Nikki run the Chicago studio (Nikki with a little more grace and calm), and together they travel the country doing some of the nation's best art fairs.

His photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries internationally, including the Illinois State Museum in Chicago; the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in California, and the San Diego Art Institute.

His work is in numerous collections worldwide - personal, corporate and public - including those of the University of Richmond Museum in Virginia; the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND; the Illinois State Museum; Mr. Danny DeVito, and Ms. Angela Lansbury.

Complete bio and resume is available here

Xavier’s family is from Spain; he was born in Montreal and lives in Chicago. Two or three nights a week he can be found at Johnny’s IceHouse playing hockey.



Dear Xavier, “Dance of the Spirits” is here and what an absolutely stunning work it is.  It truly speaks to me.  I once bought a painting from an artist named Lew Davis because it made me want to live longer. Once again the joy and elation of “Spirit” gives me the same emotion.  
The late Earl Hamner Jr (creator of TV's The Waltons and Falcon Crest)

I appreciate everything you’ve done to lift our spirits during these covid times! The monthly giveaways are so generous and a lot of fun! I own 5 prints now and love every one. I first met you at an art show in Old Town, Chicago in 2007 and have followed you ever since. I also saw you in Indianapolis twice. Your work is amazing and unique and I know I will be a lifelong follower. Thank you!
DeeDee Leonard

Xavier Nuez's  photographs capture light very creatively and magically. His photographic environments invite the viewer to look at the world in a new and inspiring way. The ordinary becomes special and exciting.

Jane Stevens - Director of the Illinois State Museum, Chicago Gallery

Xavier Nuez is a great artist and a truly special person. A trip to his studio will be a joy that you will not soon forget! His work is beautiful but there is an eerie quality that quietly pulls you into to each piece. You begin to imagine the experience and emotion of these dark, forgotten places. As you come to understand his process, you learn that it is not just art, but theater. If you have not seen Xavier's Light Paintings, please give yourself a treat and visit his website (or visit in person if you can!).

Cynthia West, Director, Chicago Arts District

Xavier’s artwork is utterly fantastic. I bought 2 pieces at last year’s Old Town Alexandria art festival — they’re absolutely gorgeous. Friends & family have all asked about them. I’m looking forward to my next Xavier pieces. I highly recommend him!!!!!

Scott Jermyn

Congrats Xavier! Your new stuff is awesome. Me and the wife Luv the piece we own.  
Jeff Eastin (creator of TV's White Collar and Graceland)

Xavier is amazing at creating art using lighting and locations that don't seem interesting until lit just the right way. I'm very happy to have a number of his works in my home.
Andy York

Beautiful and unusual at the same time! It’s hard to stop staring at the photos. Great work X!
Dave LeFebvre

I have been a long time fan of Xavier's work. I have a ruin light painting photo and a large format insect photo print. They add so much color to our home and look great anywhere He's a great guy and had such an interesting life. After more than 10 years of knowing him, it's still a pleasure to see his work and the man himself! 
Thanks for sharing your talent and creativity!
David Piper

This is a friend of mine Xavier Nuez. I say friend In the context that he came to Kansas City several years ago with his art and I loved hearing the process as well as seeing the end product. Over the years I have collected several pieces of his and we never miss a chance to see his latest stuff when he comes to KC, as well as catch up on life.  Please check out his art and the fascinating process behind it at  Also tune in each month for live art giveaways!
Derek Van Rensselaer

Such a creative talented artist.
Alleys and ruins is about taking something that has fallen on hard times and making it beautiful. 
Kathryn Jens

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