Mar 9, 2023
Check Out Nicole Collie’s Story
Nicole, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?I was born and raised in the Bahamas and went to college in the United States, where I now reside. 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. This desk brought me so much happiness.
I started painting with watercolors as a child, using the same seven colors that most of us were given to use during elementary school, and I loved using that medium as I developed as an artist. During college, I had to take an art class using acrylic paint, and I was totally against it. At that time, I had only used watercolor and gouache paint. This class also required me to paint nudes, something that I also was adamantly against due to my religious upbringing. It is so ironic that painting nudes using acrylics is now all that I do.
I believe that all artists should have the freedom to use the medium that they are most passionate about when expressing themselves. So now I want to be a leader, the pied piper of the art world. I don’t want other artists to follow the same path that I chose, but I want to help guide them towards their personal creative path. This desire to help other artists is how my non-profit Gray Spaces came to be, and why the artist platform Emerging Creatives was founded.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?Absolutely not, but that is what makes the journey so worthwhile. Recognizing that no one has a smooth road is very important, and we all need to share our struggles with each other. Oftentimes we believe that we are the only ones experiencing life’s hardships. Knowing that other people have similar experiences on their creative journeys helps us to feel less isolated.
Some of the struggles I faced in my career had to do with painting nudes. It was my way of rebelling. It was also a conscious decision to stay away from drugs and alcohol at a young age. This same rebellion turned into me seeing my self-worth. I saw the beauty of the female body, every stretch mark, every curve, and every blemish is perfectly imperfect. Our flaws make us our unique selves.
The Bahamian culture is very Christian based, which caused a problem with me painting nudes. However, there were people that understood and supported my dreams, my parents being the most important. My father gave me the opportunity to open my own art gallery, which in turn helped build my confidence as an artist, my self-esteem as a person and a woman. This mindset allows me to adapt creatively and take on new challenges where I push myself outside of the box. For example, I illustrate children’s books, create websites, and do graphic design for other creatives, non-profits, and entrepreneurs.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?I am most proud of my evolution as an artist and person. Painting helps me with my mental health because when I create it keeps me in a great mental space, which translates into my home environment, and the people I choose to be around. In my life patience is a verb that I actively seek and work on. You cannot get anything done without putting in the work and putting in the work requires time and patience. My life’s mantra is,
“Happy and healthy individuals impact the community in which they live, which in turn changes the trajectory of our country in a positive way.”
My inspiration for painting the female body is empowerment from my personal journey of accepting myself. The reason this medium is my specialty is that we women spend so much time trying to look better, to hide or not acknowledge our flaws, and that is sad to me. There is a very special wish that I have for all of us, especially women, and that is to be able to look at ourselves naked in the mirror with all of our flaws and love who we see. That is not to say there isn’t work that needs to be done, but it is about being honest with ourselves concerning who we are. We should all accept the fact that we will never be perfect but will do our best to love who we have turned out to be and enjoy who we are as individuals.
What sets me apart is accepting people/artists where they are in their artistic journey. If you consider yourself an artist, so do I. We all need someone on our side who cares about us and encourages us to stay on the path. I cannot help but feel this way because of my own personal journey
I am also proud of my non-profit, Gray Spaces, and artist platform Emerging Creatives. These two organizations allow me to help people with their artistic and business ventures. I believe in the hashtag #artistsupportingartist – I want to provide support to people who need assistance with understanding what branding is, including website design, marketing materials, and social media presence. This work allows me to develop a relationship with my clients that goes beyond just completing a project. It is where the patience I talked about earlier comes into play. I approach partnerships with my clients by cultivating our relationships. We build trust and share ideas, and this allows me to understand their vision and needs, resulting in a polished and professional look.
If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?I keep on mentioning the importance of patience. But there are some other characteristics that work hand in hand with that like insight, and the ability to extract information from my clients by listening to them explain their concepts. These conversations allow me to interpret their words into visuals that represent what they want to see. Asking the right questions is extremely important, and my years of experience helps me to understand what information I need to gather to be successful at what I do. All of my clients are unique, so they deserve branding that is unique to them, and it gives me great satisfaction when I deliver exactly that.