I describe my work as Abstract. I believe the images are celestial and ethereal (which means supremely good, extremely delicate and light in a way that seems to perfect for this world), with a spiritual undertone. My work is full of color, texture and symbolism.
I create art that represents the strength, majesty, and beauty of women and their bodies. Women are
incredible creatures, filling big shoes as mothers, lovers, caregivers, housekeepers, wives, and friends,
all while working. In my paintings, I portray our ability to do it all. I create space for women to appreciate
and care for their bodies as much as they care for the world around them—a world that they nurture
and protect. By painting women’s bodies, I am helping to build a world where we recognize health and
beauty as relative to ourselves and incomparable to others. My art is meant to inspire women to look at
“imperfections” like stretch marks, and see the beauty. Mine are from my son, reminding me of the road
I traveled to have him. Having found the place where I can look in the mirror and love what I see, I want
to welcome other women into a world where they don’t apologize for their bodies, but recognize the
power they hold.
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"I live to paint and I paint to live" — Nicole Collie
As an artist, I strive to show others that we should all love ourselves, love each other, and love life without judgment. Identity is what my art is about. I grew up with body issues, just like anybody else these days. I come from a very conservative and strict background which caused me to rebel, and my rebellion was to paint nudes. Painting nudes was my personal therapy that helped me to reach the conclusion that if I can stand in front of a mirror naked and like the person that I am, I have won the battle of self-worth and self-esteem. My inspiration now for painting the female body is empowerment. As women we spend so much time trying to look better, to hide or not acknowledge our flaws, and that is unfortunate. My desire for everyone, especially women, is that we can accept ourselves unconditionally flaws and all. My inspiration comes from my own journey of accepting myself.
I describe my work as Abstract with images that are colorful and textured with symbolism. The images I paint have a celestial and ethereal feel to them because they are a representation of our inner selves.
The medium I use is any material that I can get my hands on, but my artwork is anchored in acrylic paints. I will use gels, plaster, wire, metals, nails, gold leaf, sand, glass beads, ink, real flowers . . . If the material speaks to me and I am inspired by something about it, I will incorporate it into my paintings.
My philosophy on my work is whatever I’m going through in my real life, I will end up expressing it in my artwork. My underlying fundamental truth is acknowledging that we all lie to ourselves about who we think we are. I don’t believe that people honestly sit down and evaluate who they are and recognize and accept themselves. I want to operate from an honest space and tell the truth on the canvas, and the truth is that we are all flawed, and my artwork reflects that. My intention is not to highlight negative images but to celebrate flaws as a beautiful representation of who we are as human beings. We are imperfectly perfect. Depicting balance is a key component of my most current work. Nothing is all good and nothing’s all bad. For instance, I have been incorporating orchids in my paintings, something that I consider to be soft and delicate, but the opposite of that is something hard, rusty, worn, and rough like a nail, which I place right next to it to show balance. I also use straight and curved lines, which represent opposing views in the same image.
The role of an artist should be a thought provoker, inspiration, and to express a point of view. There are always two sides to a coin. Hope and desperation can exist on the same canvas, just like light and dark, and good, and bad. Art is subjective and expresses all the emotions and experiences that we have as human beings.
COLOR, TRUTH, and love
"Live in your color and your truth" — Nicole Collie
If You Want to Know More About Me
Nicole Collie was born and raised in the Bahamas and went to college in the United States, where she now resides. “My journey as an artist starts with vivid memories of a fluorescent green desk full of coloring books and crayons. This desk was bigger than life and when I totally grew out of it, I began carrying it around. I have fond memories about this desk.” Her first paintings were of landscapes, flowers, and later, the female form. Nicole started painting with watercolors as a child, using the same seven colors that most of us were given to use during elementary school, and she loved using that medium as she developed as an artist. While attending The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where she received her bachelor’s degree in graphic design, she had to take an art class using acrylic paint and was totally against it. At that time, Nicole had only used watercolor and gouache paint. She was surprised at how easily she adapted to using acrylic paint and that it was actually enjoyable. It allowed her to add layer upon layer, which creates a wonderful texture to paint on. This school also required her to paint nudes, something that she was adamantly against due to her religious upbringing. However, once she started working with women that allowed her to paint them on canvas, there was a special transformation, when she experienced a boost in confidence and self-esteem. It is ironic that painting nudes is now all that she does.Nicole says, “I began painting nudes as an act of rebellion and for shock value. Raised in a modest home where nudity was never spoken of, conservative Bahamian culture made it particularly difficult for people to accept my art.”Nicole is inspired by women and other creatives. “I enjoy painting the female body as a symbol of empowerment. Women spend so much time trying to look better, to hide or not acknowledge their flaws, and that is sad to me. My desire for everyone, especially women, is that we can accept ourselves unconditionally flaws and all. My inspiration comes from my own journey of accepting myself. That is why the images I paint have a celestial and ethereal feel to them because they are a representation of our inner selves.”
Nicole is, first and foremost, a mother and wife. Her son was in kindergarten when she decided to quit her job and open an art gallery called Sine Qua Non. The art gallery was a place where she showed her son how important it is to follow his dreams by doing what you love.Nicole has shown her work for more than 20 years at galleries including Baha Mar on her native island, The Bahamas, as well as Art Village Gallery, Memphis; Infusion Gallery, Los Angeles; Van Der Plas Gallery, New York; and more.Nicole was inspired to launch Emerging Creatives – and later, her nonprofit Creating Gray Spaces – after her early years as an artist in Nassau and repeatedly being turned away by galleries who preferred traditional Bahamian culture, wildlife, and landscapes versus her paintings of nude female figures. “I fought against that. We can’t put limitations or restraints on how people choose to express themselves,”Emerging Creatives is all about empowering artists to be unapologetically creative and protect their self-sovereignty and self-expression from systems that seek to monopolize, profit from, or take control of their work. “Artists are constantly drained of their talent, time, and space, and in the end, they’re left with a small percentage of their earnings. The artists that show their work at my exhibitions keep themajority of their profits.”Nicole is a diverse creative meaning that in addition to her art, she is a graphic designer, illustrator of children’s books, and a brand and website builder. Her clientele includes authors, corporate and small business clients, entrepreneurs, and non-profits. She also curates her own exhibits and art shows for other artists.
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