I'm happy to introduce you to Nicole Docimo, an artist and blogger living in Davis, California. On her blog, Blue Bicicletta: Art and Illustration, Nicole writes engagingly about the joys and hardships of being a full-time artist. Nicole's art work is simple and whimsical, and often encourages the viewer to celebrate life's small pleasures, like stopping to smell the roses.
I have gotten to know Nicole through email exchanges and think she's not only a talented artist but also a lovely person. Indeed, Nicole has generously offered one lucky Food Blogga reader one of her eco-friendly reusable tote bags with the motto: Eat Well and Slowly (pictured below).
1. Your art work is simple yet playful and appealing. How did you develop your style?
My style developed by a series of happy accidents and a weaving together of various interests. A few years ago, when I was getting back into visual art after a long sabbatical, I was really trying anything---collage, painting, block printing. Then one day, my then boyfriend, now husband, noticed that I was always doodling with just a pen on paper, and he said, "Why don't you do that type of drawing more seriously?" At that moment the light bulb went on, and so I started taking my black pen to larger pieces of paper.
At first, I was doing more abstract, pattern-based drawings, but I had also been making large paintings of words that came from my love of poetry and my interest in making poetry more visual. At about the same time, I was taking some graphic design courses and getting excited about typography and design, and then I signed up for an art show/project called "The Sketchbook Project" through the Art House (http://www.arthousecoop.com/) in Atlanta, GA, where 500 artists were each sent a small sketchbook to illustrate under the theme "How to Save the World." That project really launched me into my current style, as I tried to bring simple drawings and messages together to illustrate several ways to "Save the world one person at a time," including things like "Eat Well & Slowly," "Ride Bikes," and "Value Your Time More than Your Money." These drawings have become some of my most popular, and really were the gateway to what is now Blue Bicicletta.
2. An artist's life can be challenging in many ways. How do you stay motivated during slumps?
I think the most challenging thing about being an artist is mental. It's a challenge to push through all of the ideas that are tossed around in society as a whole (and that live in my own mind) about how difficult it is to make a living as an artist. One of the most important things I've learned is that I can do the work, no matter how I feel. I think a lot of people think that artists are always dancing around and feeling inspired, but I don't think that's true in most cases. I think that in order to have a creative career, or just a life in some creative art, you just need to keep showing up, no matter how you feel. Once I realized that I could do my work even when I was not feeling inspired, or at least I could show up and try, that took some of the pressure off, and it became more about just making time for the work and continuing. I also think that the more art you make, the more ideas you have---so it follows that the more you "show up" the easier it gets to show up.
My main business goal for the next year is to keep trying to figure out what combination of things will create and maintain a full-time income for me as an artist. My main personal goals are to continue to learn how to appreciate every day, and be patient with myself.
4. What tips can you offer to bloggers to stay fresh and be creative?
Blog about what you really love and are passionate about. I know people always say this, but I think this is true across the board in life: if you do the things you really love, that really excite you, there's no way to lose: people will see and feel that excitement and get excited too, you will more easily be able to maintain your energy because you love what you're working on, and in general, you will get to feel all of the good feelings that come along with doing something you're passionate about. Passion is never boring for the maker or the viewer.
When I was trying to think of a name for my blog, I knew I wanted a name that conveyed a sense of me. I live in Davis, California, a town that is known for its huge percentage of bike riders, and I love to ride my bike. I am also half Italian, so the word "bicicicletta" (the Italian word for bicycle) seemed like a good fit. Also, I love the color blue, and the word "Blue" had a nice sound with "Bicicletta." So, all of these things just fit together into a creative, playful, fun name. I also like to say that making art feels like riding my bike fast, down hills. So, there you go. I launched my blog in the Fall of 2007 as a way to explore art and share my art with other people, and I haven't looked back. I love blogging---it's such a fun way to share my art and creative process.
To see more of Nicole's work and/or make a purchase visit her Etsy site. She has over 150 items for sale, many that are perfect for the foodies on your Christmas list.
Now for the give-away! To enter for a chance to win this nifty reusable tote-bag, simply leave a comment or question below pertaining to Nicole's art work by the end of the day, Thursday, December 17th. The winner must provide his or her full name and mailing address. As an extra bonus, if you have submitted a cookie to our Eat Christmas Cookies event, or do so by the 17th, you will double your chances of winning the tote bag. Good luck!
Want to share in our big, festive Eat Christmas Cookies event? Find out how here. (Several Santa prizes will be given out throughout the event.) And check out the stash of Christmas cookies we've gotten so far.
Congratulations to last week's winners!
Manju of Three Tastes, has won a copy of the cookbook, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
Alta of Tasty Eats at Home has won the Fresh and Easy holiday wine and chocolates. Please email me your name and address so you can receive your prizes.