FEATURED ARTIST | SEPTEMBER 2013
Bio: Nicole Morrow is an abstract & portrait artist based in Dallas, Texas. Her gestural pieces have been described by critics as ethereal and mysterious. Nicole works primarily with acrylic paint, but also employs the use of thread, veneer, wax and lacquers to achieve the desired look. Her work can be found at Curated as well as the NYLO hotels and the June 2008 issue of TIME magazine. Ms. Morrow studied under the direction of Dr. Joseph Pomara and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Texas - Dallas. When Nicole isn't painting she is usually contributing to the Dallas Art community through various creative projects or conducting private art lessons with her young students.
Hometown: Garland, Texas
Favorite Dallas spot: Bar Belmont or Ascension Coffee
How did you get your start creating "ethereal and mysterious" abstract paintings and portraits in the Dallas area?
I've always been creative. Even from a young age I knew I wasn't wired like the traditional kid, haha. I didn't just have an imagination; I had a gearbox that crunched up what I saw in the world and rearranged it to be something entirely different and estranged from its context. I was a lofty kid, always stuck somewhere between reality and memory, and depicting the "in-between" where I often live has been my life's pursuit. You've said your goal is to capture those "fleeting memories that make our hearts beat a little faster, ache a little more."
Does the use of abstraction help you to convey "memories, emotions and the vaporous space in between" in your paintings?
Abstraction is the only vehicle I've found that effectively conveys emotion, something that has no shape or form, so, yeah, I think that's true.
Studying under artist John Pomara proved a formative experience for you. What insights did you gain from that teacher/student relationship?
Dr. Pomara taught me how to release my doubts when painting while maintaining discipline and without losing my natural aesthetic. I think anyone can pick up a brush and paint, but it's hearing yourself and knowing when to act and when to refrain that can take years to master. I still haven't done that. I still create terrible, awful work, but when I do I know it's because I'm rushing it or I'm not 100% invested. John taught me that good work only happens when good investment happens. For me, this usually means a lot of time alone in my studio with my thoughts (and my dog). It can be daunting, it can be scary, but mostly, it's cathartic.
AHD: You've said you want people to understand you don't have to be refined to be good. What do you mean?
NM: Honestly, and I know this will rub some people the wrong way, refined art often tends to look overworked, overthought, and overvalued by appraisers. By refined I mean meticulous attention to detail, perfectly straight lines and tired subject matter. While that technique does provide some monetary success, I believe it's the raw brushstroke and the relationship of brush and hand that really provides the emotional satisfaction a true artist seeks.
AHD: For three years you've donated work to Summer Colors, the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children's annual silent auction and fundraiser. Why is this cause important to you?
NM: Scottish Rite is important to me for many reasons, but mainly I believe in the well-being of our future generation. Scottish Rite does an amazing job of empowering these kids to love themselves even with their differences.
AHD: Do you think every artist should have such a cause? Why?
NM: We all have a unique gift, whatever it might be, and I feel that we should use our talents to benefit others, but I don't think you have to support a cause to be a blessing to another individual. Though based in Dallas, you can deliver a commissioned piece around the world.
AHD: What's it like having a physical artist community around you, and a virtual one waiting just a few clicks away? How do they differ?
NM: Having a physical artist community around me provides me with so much support and encouragement, especially when I'm feeling bogged down. I love that feeling of community and sharing. On the other hand, with the advent of the internet, it's easy to make connections with people around the globe. Having these friends helps to keep me in the know and on the pulse of what's emerging artistically around the world. The friends I've made in Dallas, and the friends I've made around the world all help shape my work through osmosis, observation, and discussion.
AHD: In addition to studying and now professionally producing art, you teach others to do the same. How did you stumble upon teaching, and how do you help others tell their story through artistic expression?
NM: I stumbled into tutoring when my good friend Blake recommended me to his client. His client was looking for an after-school art tutor for her daughter and, just like that, I became a teacher! When I see my student, we work together to create art that is meaningful for her. Thankfully, she's a talkative girl - so just listening to her stories gives me a feel for the type of project to prepare for her. After that it's really just letting her natural skills shine with direction and suggestion from me. There's really no greater feeling than seeing the look of pride and accomplishment on her face when she's created something she's proud of.
AHD: What are you working on this fall, and where can we go to see, purchase, and commission your work?
NM: This fall is filling up pretty quickly with new projects. I have just been signed to a new gallery that's opening on Dragon street, Caldwell Arte Exposicion. You can purchase my work at the Art House Dallas Anniversary Party on October 17th, visit Caldwell Arte Exposition , or Curated on Knox-Henderson. Additionally, I accept commissions year-round. For more information on that or my work you can visit yaynicole.com