Nicky Kriara studied painting in Los Angeles and Massachusetts before graduating from the University of Oregon in 2002. She has a BFA in ceramics--with a focus on installation art--and a minor in art history. She received the Fischer Gallery Scholarship Award from The University of Southern California in 1998.

After college, she opened Epitome Gallery in Portland, Oregon (2004-2006), curating monthly shows and alternating her work with other emerging artists. She earned a grant from Rotary travel to Bali, Indonesia (2005) to represent the gallery through the GSE Program.

For nine years she worked in film and stop-motion animation. She used 3D printers to fabricate puppet faces, was a test animator, and painted sets & props. Film productions included ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), and Toby Froud's live-action puppet short Lessons Learned (2014) produced by Heather Henson. 

Kriara completed a public art grant funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Bullseye Glass Co, and Trimet in 2014. She worked with a group of four artists to construct 60 mosaic columns that were permanently installed along The Orange Line of The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail. In 2016, she received a stipend and month-long Leland Iron Works Residency through The Pacific Northwest College of Art to create work at the studio and home of sculptor Lee Kelly in Oregon City.

Nicky has painted and collaborated on a number of murals throughout Portland. In 2017, she was the lead painter for an 80-foot mural outside Breakside Brewery in NW Portland and directed a team of artists to recreate an image by Chilean artist Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo for Sockeye creative agency.

In 2016, she started her own ceramic production and design company called NIKO. She uses a combination of slip-casting, carving, slab, and wheel-thrown techniques to create functional ceramic wares. NIKO allows her to take on more freelance projects and collaborate with artists and designers. She continues to exhibit her personal work.