It is funny how small things in life sometimes end up being life changing. In Nicole Cijs‘ case, this moment was a box of pencils she got from her brother. For Nicole, receiving these pencils from her brother was the moment when the passion for art really hit off. Starting to work with layers, combining colors and taking painting more seriously. Now, years later, Nicole Cijs is a professional artist and that particular pencil box has been a great inspiration for her!
We recently met Nicole and interviewed her. In this post, we would like to invite you to have a closer look into Nicole Cijs’ life and learn about her as an artist. Lean back and enjoy! 🙂
The journey of Nicole Cijs becoming an artist
Nicole tells us that she does not have an official art education. She was adviced that having an art education was not necessarily the road to success as an artist. The feedback she got from people studying art was that they learned a lot during their studies, but that their own style was being crushed. Instead of strengthening one’s own style, people studying art were asked to follow the view and style of the teachers. Therefore, unsure whether it was true or not, she decided not to start an art study. But, this did not mean abandoning art completely!
Nicole Cijs started painting professionally since 2012. But, art has been a part of her life for a lot longer than that. At the beginning of her art career Nicole Cijs was using color pencils a lot. But when in 2003 she started having problems with her shoulders and back, it was time to stop using them. It meant that she needed to give up her precious medium to make art and take a big step to find something new to let her creativity flow.
Nicole tried taking the step to digital art but she was not completely satisfied with it. Something was missing! Nicole missed being able to feel the materials when working with them. That was the point when she found the joy of painting and fell in love with the medium. Endless amounts of colors that she was able to create, love at first sight!
Life as an artist: dancing on roses or waking up at 6.30 am?
At accessART we always wonder how the piece of art is created and how the life of an artist looks like. Finding the inspiration in the process or suffering in agony while trying to find it? What is the life of an artist life in the 21st century?
What Nicole Cijs showed us is that being an artist is nothing out of space. No rituals before starting to paint or working only when the inspiration hits. No, no. Being an artist is the same kind of life like me and you are living. Nicole starts working around 7.30. During her break she likes to relax in her garden and after finishing at 4 o’clock she goes for a walk with her dog. Seems like a pretty similar schedule to a regular day at the office! The only thing is that we cannot do gardening during the coffee break 🙂 .
Nicole Cijs sees doing art as her job, a job that she loves very much! But as she is working in a creative profession being inspired is a crucial factor. We all have those moments in which you just feel you cannot move forward! For Nicole, that feeling is definitely recognizable, but something that is just part of the process. You feel it, you acknowledge it and get over it. Easy as that.
Where to get inspiration?
To get inpired, Nicole loves to listen to movie music while making art. Like in a creative process, also in movie music the low and high points are visible and they guide you through it. Movie music is something that she has on repeat when she is painting to get her to the flow. Nicole does not have any special favorite, but for example, Gladiator, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings have great soundtracks to paint with. One does not always have to like the movie itself, just the music! So feel free to try one of the soundtracks next time you are feeling lack of inspiration or a creative block 🙂
Paintings are like books – when they are done, they are done.
Nicole Cijs continues by telling us that she sees her paintings as books. When the painting is done it marks as the end of the chapter, no turning back. She does not have a story to tell with her art, she wants to hear what you think of her art! Whether you hate it or love it, it does not matter. She loves to hear why it is that way and experience the impact that her art has on other people.
In her opinion, when she finishes a painting it is an end of the chapter, end of the book. Then it is time for the person buying her art to create a new story around it! That is something she finds especially fascinating and exciting. Nicole can’t wait to get to send off her paintings to let them create new stories outside the artist nest. But when does an artist know that their painting is ready? Apprently, that is something that the artists get asked very often! One of Nicole’s favorite painters, Brian Rutenberg, had answered this question by turning the situation around; “How do you know when it’s finished? Who cares? A baker is finished when there’s a cupcake.”
Look & Feel
For the rest of us that are not artists, this seems like a mystery. When does an artist finally know their painting is done? For Nicole, it is the point when she feels that there is nothing more to add to the painting. The feeling might come back later, but Nicole has a strict policy if it comes to this; when a painting is done, it’s really done. Chapter closed, time to move on! So no more editing after three weeks.
In between, Nicole works on many different paintings. Her style is to work with layers and different mediums and they need time to dry. Usually she paints 5-6 paintings at the same time. This makes that they all have the same look and feel. In the end, when she gets the feeling that there is nothing more to add to the painting she lets it go and decides that it is finished. End of the chapter, time for new challenges!
The best is yet to come
When you have a talk with an artist you of course want to hear what is the most glorious moment in their career. Nicole Cijs explains that for her, this moment is yet to come. She is going to be presenting for the first time ever alone at the National Art Days at Ahoy Rotterdam with a 6 meter stand. Nicole got the chance to go there to present as she won a jury price in Now Art Fair held also in Ahoy Rotterdam. The National Art Days in Rotterdam are a great opportunity to go and have a talk with Nicole! The best part, accessART will be there too 🙂 . Nicole loves to hear the stories people create around her paintings so feel free to make her day by telling her what do you think of her art and why 🙂
We had a lot of fun doing this interview with Nicole, she has a wonderful personality! During this interview we learned that a painting can be seen as a process of baking cupcakes, delicious. Or as a book, where a painting is like a chapter in it, smart. Beloved child has many names…and we all love art! If you got inspired by Nicole’s art visit her website Nicole Cijs Art & Design or check her works available at accessART at Nicole Cijs‘ personal shop.
The pictures of Nicole at work are taken by Martina and Marcel van Raad, thank you very much!