ReDesigning Art with Nicole The Caulk Artist

Give us a little background on how you became an artist and when you knew that you loved it and wanted to do it professionally:

I started my love for art way back when while creating entire cities out of chalk and old cereal boxes on the hot sidewalk streets of El Paso. We would get so creative, drawing out street lines, whole parking lots, and areas for racing. I took a few art classes in high school where I met my favorite art teacher, Mrs. Kushide who inspired and encouraged me to keep creating and to embrace my creative side. Since then, life has a funny way of distracting us from what we love to do, but those who are passionate, find their way back.

Two pieces in your collection caught my attention, The Tribe and WuTang. Are you a hip hop fan or were those pieces commission pieces for other hip hop fans:

I really grew up in the 90s. The 90s were without a doubt, the golden age of rap and when hip hop really evolved and spoke to me. Artists/Groups came out and their lyrics, songs, lives resonated with me. So many amazing memories come with some of my favorite artists and songs. From memories with friends and moments of happiness, to first experiences and emotions of anger surrounded by historic moments of injustice; when you didn’t have social media, you had music and music was life!

When I started painting again, I’d often listen to these same songs and artists that reminded me of moments and that’s where the Wu and the Tribe pieces came from. More like a tribute, an ode to some of my favorites. I had planned to make more album covers but found my creative journey shifting to the women’s movement. Just as passionate, the women’s movement really means so many things, but it hit right at a time when I could resonate with it the most. Sexuality, empowerment, independence from stereotypes; all very powerful feelings.

You have incredibly good work, but what’s so interesting is the things you use to create your art. The one in particular being caulk, how did you end up focusing on making caulk the primary element for creating your pieces:

I’ve always loved and enjoyed creating line art and a bit of a relief effect with my creatives. I love creatives that come off the canvas and have lots of depth and texture. In many cases, there is art in the art. I tried to layer acrylics, but paint is expensive, and trying to create a line was annoying when squeezing a tube; then one day while re-caulking a tub in our first home, I decided to take the material to the canvas. I loved the effect I could create with the lines and also loved that the material was far more malleable/ flexible, than textured acrylic.

Do you have certain subjects you like to focus on as it pertains to your art or do you pretty much just go with the flow of what’s on your heart to do, besides the pieces you have to do for commission work of course:

Definitely go with the flow, but as mentioned above, a lot of women have been in my series both commissioned and not. I love the female figure and the curves/shapes/flow, but in the near future, I do plan to drop a few male figures on canvas to see how that goes. (LOL.) Maybe not so curvy and sharply, but more so a personal challenge to change things up and keep pushing myself to try something new! 

What have you found to be one of the most rewarding and frustrating things about being an artist professionally:

Frustrating things about being an artist. (Hmmm.) I guess, those moments of artist block. When I want to create something, and I just can’t get it out with the same passion or feelings that I’m having. It’s a feeling that’s similar to when a runner can’t run, or a chef can’t cook. Nothing is more frustrating than keeping yourself from doing what you love to do, but it happens. For those moments, I usually take a step back, take a break and have some wine.

I’m not sure that I’d say I’m an artist professionally…..yet. Art isn’t all that I do but that is the long-term goal for say, retirement, because to retire to me doesn’t mean to do nothing, but more so to do what you wish.  Most rewarding is just being able to create pieces that truly share my soul for people who want to hang them on their walls in their homes. To have your art in someone’s home is so personal, so intimate; honoring even. They’re going to see a piece of you every day. There’s no greater reward for me as an artist!

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