Introducing: Nichol Stokes
The final artist being added the website this month is the talented Nichol Stokes. Nichol came to Wraptious through the Summer Competition, and creates her art using alcohol inks. Here's a little more about her....
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with the twins who just turned 7 and getting them ready for the day ahead alongside a fresh cup of coffee. I can't live without coffee! Then it's the school run before settling down in my studio to grab as much time as possible painting and working on my business before collecting them from school. The evening is all about family and spending some quality time and occasionally I can grab an hour or so painting before bed time. Weekends are all about friends, family and adventures. We love exploring!
How do you organise your time?
Monday to Friday is pretty much the same each day while the twins are at school and I'm relatively organised and aim to be as productive as possible but when it's the school holidays organisation goes completely out of the window and I basically wing it most days!
What mediums do you work in?
Alcohol ink. My next step is to try alcohol ink with other mediums but for now I'm still enjoying the journey the ink takes you on. You may have something in mind but it very rarely comes out as you imagined but that's what I find so exciting about the medium.
What inspires your designs? Where do you get inspiration from?
I live on the edge of the Peak District so have an abundance of beautiful landscapes and colours on my doorstep but I can take inspiration from all manner of beautiful images and objects and spend a lot of time looking at photography, textiles, nature and art.
Which artists do you admire or have influenced you?
Astuary art - another alcohol ink artist who was the initial inspiration for my personal journey. She has such a natural instinct for the flow and fades you can get from the ink.
Celia Davies - I came across Celia recently on Instagram and think her textures with ink and other mediums are just stunning!
Nick Knight - photographer who did some beautiful photographs of dried flowers and produced a book called Flora which was a huge inspiration for this collection.
What’s the greatest challenge of being an artist?
Knowing when a piece is finished! I ruined a lot of paintings in the beginning. One drop of ink too many and a painting can be completely ruined. The positive though is that you can rework alcohol ink so I've learned to put pieces aside for a few weeks and then revisit them with fresh eyes.
What’s your top tip for other artists?
Don't give up. I've only been creating with alcohol ink for just over a year and it's taken a lot of practise to master some of the techniques with a lot of disasters but the feeling you get when you finally achieve something you've set out to do is worth the persistence.
What is your favourite piece of your own work and why?
My favourite piece was a commissioned painting of roses I did. Not so much for the content but for the journey I went on to get it completed. I must have painted over 50 roses and did the actual painting several times before I felt it was right. At times I was questioning if I would ever be able to get the technique right, it's one of the more challenging techniques using alcohol ink and my daughter said the first attempts looked like cabbages! I was balancing home schooling and caring for the twins at the time and it was so important to get it right because it had special meaning for my client so I put myself under immense pressure but finally I got there and for that I am proud.
What would your dream job be?
I'm very happy to say I am now doing it. Working as an artist has been a dream for many years. I lost my corporate job prior to the pandemic and while searching Instagram I came across alcohol ink and gave it a try as a way to relax and switch off from everything going on in the world! I fell in love with it immediately and had such a good response and finally felt I'd found something I was meant to do.
What does the process of "art" mean to you?
Being creative is like having another limb. If I didn't do it I wouldn't feel whole! It's always been a part of me from being a young girl in varying forms including jewellery making, upcycling furniture and photography. It's my way of relaxing, resetting and recharging.
Where do you create art, and why?
Originally I was painting in the kitchen but that wasn't ideal as there are toxic fumes when painting with alcohol ink and you need to wear a respirator and have a well ventilated room so my partner converted some of our outdoor space into a little studio which is perfect. I have a lovely view over the garden and it's my little haven.
I'm a huge fan of Charles Mackesy and his beautiful book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. So many lovely quotes. 'Most of the old moles I know wish they had listened less to their fears and more to their dreams.'
You can find Nichol's new giftware range on her Wraptious Page.
Follow her on instagram @nicholstokesdesigns