CCP asks Nicole Nelius the deep questions about her craft
1. What gets you out of bed every day?
My 3 year old wakes me mid-deep sleep every morning it seems; never gets easier. Once I’m awake though, I do love a good cup of coffee and to just ease into the morning as best I can. My fun studio time starts once the kids are out for the day.
2. Who is the artist that has inspired you the most?
I’m inspired by anyone making art really. It takes courage to delve into the creative unknown and to push yourself to do that regularly. A forever favourite of mine is Henri Matisse. I love his use of colour and that he didn’t just do one thing – he worked with paint, collage, sculpture, stained glass. I particularly love the hybrids out there; those artists whose creative skill can be accessed in a variety of ways. I’m also inspired by my photographer friends and collaborators – Anna Pihan, Lauren Bamford and many more.
3. What medium are you working with?
I take photos and I paint and sometimes I paint over my photos.
4. When you are creating art do you listen to music, and if so; what genre and/or band? and if you don’t; are there other essential items that you use?
I can work in silence, but I do prefer to have music playing while I work. My go-to for some reason is Paul Simon, there is something uplifting about his songs. Late last year I was rotating between Steve Miller and The Beatles. Now I’m having a Paul McCartney moment. Also, Arcade Fire. Harry Styles. Very eclectic.
5. Do you make prints from your original artworks? How important is that print to you and your work?
I don’t do prints of my paintings, but I did fall into printing my still life compositions that I paint from and these prints have become quite an important part of my oeuvre.
6. acrylic, watercolor, oil, gouache, ink.
I enjoy working with acrylic due to its forgiving nature - having kids means its easier to clean up. I've never worked with watercolours but I appreciate the medium - my Abuelo was an extremely talented watercolourist - I've dabbled in oil - alot of artworks that I have collected over the years are oil paintings.
7. Have you exhibited your work? How important was the framing process to you?
I have exhibited my paintings in Sydney and Melbourne over the last couple of years. A lot of thought went into the initial framing of my work and now I just have a signature that I go-to for all my paintings. With prints, it’s a little more anything goes. I’ve seen so many different framing options that my collectors have chosen. The only thing that I really like and often recommend is to have a bit of depth between the print and the glass; it enhances the work in my opinion.
8. What defines a great artwork?
Anything that makes you feel anything. No rhyme or reason; doesn’t have to have a deeper meaning.
9. What is your favourite genre of art? Why? and also your favourite piece of art?
I don’t really have one favourite genre. I love photos, I never used to ‘get’ paintings and now I’m truly obsessed. I also love movies – I think those are the most enduring works of art to me.
Note: Also, I was thinking about one of my answers! I think MUSIC is probably the most enduring of the arts, rather than film. They all have their special meaning years on though.
10. What is the best and most enduring advice about art you have received? Tell us by who if you can or want to?
I think the best advice I’ve ever received that applies to all aspects of life is to just start somewhere. You don’t have to know where you’re going; it really is the journey that counts.
11. When you are not making art, what else do you do?
I’m also a stylist – interiors and still life advertising. I feel like most of what I do lends itself to the other; most of my creative endeavours intertwine quite naturally. Sometimes I even paint from something I’ve done on set or I get a great behind the scenes photo that ends up being a print.
‘Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working’. – Matisse
‘Creativity takes courage’. - Matisse
I am curious about your subject matter.. fruits, flowers and seashells.. can you tell us when and why you have chosen these as your focus?
I think originally my use of flowers and fruit stemmed from being a stylist and having beautiful, perishable props left over from a shoot. Not wanting them to go to waste; I wanted to give them new life. I’m also quite resourceful and like to use whatever I have at home for photos. My compositions are all balanced without any tricks. I like to think that the organic elements and natural equilibrium give my images an authenticity and softness you couldn’t get with man-made objects and smoke and mirrors.
Nicole Nelius - April 2023