We first came across Nicole Fossi's gorgeous, colorful artwork by way of social media; we've since become so enamored of her fashion + floral-filled oil paintings, sharpie illustrations, jewelry, and, well, whatever else she sees fit to put out. We're thrilled to present a S W A T H of her portfolio here as part of our MAKE/DO/WORK series – Nicole's artist statement (and more!) is below, and you can keep an eye on her work via her website, NicoleFossi.com, @f0ssilized on Instagram, and @nifossi on Twitter.
"I grew up in New Orleans and D.C. I went to high school here, at National Cathedral School, and then I went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where I studied Art History and Visual Arts. I started there mostly focused on the Art History aspect, and slowly added up visual arts classes until it became part of my major! I felt I had only scratched the surface with painting in my senior year, so [when] I moved back to D.C. after graduation I started just painting like crazy to keep practicing and build up a portfolio.
When I’m not making art I also work for my mom’s small business, Gardening and Gentle Redesign, here in D.C. It has definitely impacted my work, and many aspects of the garden make appearances in my paintings. With my recent series I have been taking the inspiration of flower and plant forms and subverting them in different ways. For example, I like to paint something that looks like a garden but that also looks like an abstraction or an aerial landscape; keeping things a bit “confusing” highlights the connections between the patterns, and also makes the piece more interesting, I find.
Also, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, my junior year where I focused on silversmithing and jewelry design. I still do some silversmithing and have earrings for sale at The Mediterranean Way in Dupont Circle.
The process of making art as a way to understand the world around me began long before I could realize the meaning of this connection. It began with crayon scribbles on printer paper and doodles in the margins of notebooks and slowly developed into keeping a sketchbook on me at all times so I could immediately put pen to paper during a moment of inspiration. I eventually found that I didn’t need to be inspired to open my sketchbook, but could open my sketchbook and create inspiration myself.
I developed a great observational eye from this habitual and disciplined sketching, and for me, the great joy of being an artist is the ability to keenly observe connections and find beauty in nearly any form.
I keep myself open to all possibilities of subject, medium, and style, as I never know what I will respond to next. Themes I’ve worked with in the past include the figure, especially portraits, and all aspects of nature; everything from microscopic images of cells to the expansion of the universe captivates me. Stunning patterns can be found everywhere, which I often incorporate into my paintings in varying levels of abstraction.
As a whole, I think of the majority of my paintings as an exploration of the possibilities of “abstract representation,” as I inhabit the space between abstraction and pure representation and often meld the two.