Makers To Know: Nicolette Valikoski

Nicolette is an amazingly talented abstract artist. Her paintings are colorful, full of movement, and have a ton of textural details to drool over. Read on to find out all about her and her shop!

Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear the origin stories of other makers. When and how did you decide to start your own business? What is your creative background?

 I've loved painting for as long as I can remember but an art teacher in high school really made me feel like I had the potential to become an artist.  The two years that she taught me were the years where I really learned most of what I know now about painting.  Since then I always had the thought in the back of my mind that I wanted to become a professional artist but the timing never seemed right until about September of 2014.  Two out of my three kids were now in school and that opened up a lot more time for me to work.  I started by setting up a studio in a small room in my house and I began painting every chance I got.  I created a Facebook page and an Instagram account and my husband designed a website for me.  Once I had paintings for sale people started buying them!  Haha!  It really was as simple as that in a way.  I have since moved into a shared studio/gallery space in my town and I paint there at least 3 full days a week.  It really is a dream come true for me to be doing this for a living.  It's something I always wanted but never knew if it was possible until I stopped thinking about it and just started doing it. 

 How did you decide to focus on your medium & style?

It took me a long time to focus on my current style.  When it comes down to it though, what inspires me most are colour and texture and my love for landscapes comes naturally to me because I grew up on a small island off the west coast of BC surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the entire world.  I love using oil paint because of the vibrancy of the colour and the ability to create thick luscious texture.  I use palette knives to create my paintings and I rarely use paint brushes.  They help give my paintings that unique texture.

Have you set any exciting goals for yourself or your business for 2015? What can we look forward to seeing from you! 

This year I'm focusing on building my body of work.  It can be tough to get enough pieces to fill up my website AND to have enough for taking to art shows AND enough to put into galleries and local businesses.  Creating the art is the best part of my job and I'm happiest when I'm in the studio painting.  I've recently started working on a new series of work that I'm really excited about.  The series is yet to be titled but it's about creating landscapes that are more semi-abstract instead of the full on abstract landscapes from my previous series.  


What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their own self-made business? 

My number one piece of advice would be to make sure what you're doing is something you love.  The difficult part about being your own boss is that it can be very easy to get lost in all the fun parts about your job and avoid doing all the important work behind the scenes such as photographing the paintings, writing descriptions, pricing, promoting, etc.  These are all vital components to being a successful business person and can't be overlooked.  Time management is an important skill to learn! 

When you're not creating, what do you love to do?

When I'm not in the studio I'm at home with my three beautiful kids and my amazing husband Ryan. There's nothing better than coming home after a day doing what I love to be with the people I love.  It's important to Ryan and I that at least one of us is with the kids every day so we spend a lot of time juggling work and family life.  

Lastly, can you share three of your favorite artists? 

 Oh my goodness!  It's so hard to choose just 3!!  I have noticed lately that I seem to be mostly drawn to female artists.  Two amazing abstract artists that I love SO MUCH are Claire Desjardins and Yangyang Pan, both of whom are also from Canada.   The third artist that I have recently become fascinated by is another abstract painter, Brigid Watson from Boston.   She creates these amazing textural pieces that I am OBSESSED with.  All three of these women inspire me greatly.  I'm also really lucky because the studio space that I work out of is shared by some of the most amazing local female artists.  Every time I come into the studio I'm surrounded by inspiration and I've already learned so much just in the few short months that I've been there.