I am so pleased to show off my new logo and website design! I've wanted to freshen things up for a while and summer has thankfully helped revive my inspiration. Even though my student loan debt hates when Paint Nite slows down in the summer, I am personally very excited to have the time to spend on my art and painting at festivals!
You also may have noticed that I am FINALLY going to add a store to my website! It has taken me way too long to make this happen, but I have been working on ideas for products to put my art on other than just paper or canvas prints. Hopefully I will have the first product available at Pasture Palooza, which is happening July 12-15! I couldn't be more than happy that this event is right around the corner as it is definitely one of my favorites, I just hope I receive the order in time.
I'm also excited to let you all know that I have officially been accepted as a live artist at The Big What? and Valley Fusion Fest! Click the names of the fests to get your tickets, the line ups at both are great, and I'll be bringing some of my new merch with me as well as lots of art! Check out this sick promo pic The Big What? made for me!
Well that is all I have left in me for tonight, I've been on the computer basically all day! I hope we can shake it and sling some paint at one of the festivals I'll be painting at! Hasta luego <3
Sorry if I've fallen off the map; a shitty auction experience and the holidays took up a lot of my time and emotional energy. I'm getting back on the horse though!
I'm really stoked to be joining the Pigment Sanctuary art gallery at Mountain Music Festival again this year from May 31st-June 3rd! This time I am super lucky to be able to display my work in a huge 12x12 space. They really love us over there- click the image below to check out this sweet page they gave me on their website and browse the rest of the site to purchase your tickets!
Finally, I am so stoked to be in attendance to Mad Tea Party Jam again from June 14th-17th. The best part: MTPJ is gonna be at a new venue this year! Click on the poster below to find more details and get your tickets!
The rest of the festivals I plan to paint at haven't finalized their artist line ups, but I will most likely be in attendance at Pasture Palooza and Valley Fusion Fest again! What other festivals would you like to see me at this summer?
I'm very honored to present "Resilience" to you all. This self-portrait has been in the works for almost a full year now. I painted it as a reminder that while I may be faced with dozens of obstacles and my mental health isn't always on point, that I am always in control of how I perceive my surroundings. I wanted to remind myself that color and happiness can be find wherever I look for them, and to look to the lighter side to allow it to heal my wounds.
I've always perceived my inner light/soul/whatever as a lightbulb.
I'm not really sure why. Part of me thinks I just like the aesthetic of lightbulbs, but I think another part of me likes that they're more concrete than a floating orb of light. Writing "proof" in the filament was inspiration from a Paramore song of the same name. It's a song about having the confidence to believe your partner when they say that they love you, but I also saw it as a way of saying that I trust my own feelings and instincts to a point where I don't need external validation, and when I get it, I won't doubt it. As the song goes: "The only proof that I need is you."
"Resilience" and "Proof" will be shown and for sale in the art gallery at the Laurel Groove in Winchester, VA on August 26th. The Laurel Groove is a benefit concert for The Laurel Center, whose mission is to aid victims of sexual and domestic abuse.
You can read a more in-depth explaination of "Resilience" here: https://www.facebook.com/allisonnickensss/posts/10207650462659496
Over the next few weeks I will be putting together a store page on my website where you will be able to order 11x17 prints of all of my paintings! Eventually I would even like to ship canvas prints. In the meantime I can deliver prints within an hour of Harrisonburg, VA. I will also be live painting in the art gallery at the Laurel Groove 2 on August 26th and Valley Fusion 2 on September 16th, which are both in Winchester, VA. There are also plans for stickers in the near future.
Here are a couple pictures of me live painting this summer. Make sure you check out these other amazing artists! I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer :)
It has been over a year since I've posted here! Things have been super busy though, and thankfully I don't think many people actually read these haha. I've decided to shift my blog-esque energies toward my Facebook and instagram and may only visit here once in a while, so be sure to follow those pages to keep up with me! Feel free to add me on Snapchat @allisondewd as well, as I post lots of little videos of me painting, pictures of works in progress, and of course, pictures of my darling little Leeloo.
I've finished a couple of paintings recently that I'm super stoked about. The first is MagnifEYEd, which is a self-portrait, in a sense. Here's a little quip I wrote about it on facebook for an art challenge one day:
For my #7DaysofArtChallenge today I'm sharing my most recently completed painting, MagnifEYEd. I started this one at Pasture Palooza this past summer, which is a great festival that you should definitely check out- it's in Berryville, VA, isn't crazy expensive, AND is super fun! Anyway, I was inspired to rotate the canvas into a diamond by Rob Fogle, an artist I met at the Mad Tea Party Jam, who had a diamond grid of Alice in Wonderland inspired paintings. They were so clever, colorful, and I found the diamond shape innovative. I already had a thing for funky canvases (I have another painting, Gnarly, that is a crazy shape that I may share in this challenge!) and was like WHY HAVE I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS haha. I'd actually had this idea of my eye as a sunflower for a super long time- I'd sketch it out sometimes and just wasn't in love yet. There was something missing. Pasture Palooza rolled around and I decided that maybe the inspiration would come when I started painting it AND IT DID *bum bum* It's gonna sound super cliche but I truly do think eyes are the window to the soul. A look into someone's eyes can tell you so much and make you feel so many things (even go look into your pet's eyes, it's mesmerizing and will make you feel more connected. Or freak them out who knows haha.) I also have a deep admiration for sunflowers; they are always looking toward the light and their yellow, sometimes fiery petals radiate the warmth and happiness of the sun's rays. Yet I also find black holes fascinating, as they have such a strong gravitational pull that nothing, even light, can escape them. Their connotation is typically negative, for instance, losing something because your cluttered purse or car is a "black hole." The dichotomy between these two symbols was something I was interested to explore on canvas. As someone that struggles with depression and anxiety, this is a visual representation of the internal battles I face. I try really hard to remind myself to look toward the light and to exude positivity, but sometimes I get tired and every bit of happiness or contentment is absorbed until I'm surrounded by darkness. But the magnifying glass is there to remind myself to look closer, because things aren't always what they seem.
I also finished up a portrait of my sister's siberian husky, Lola. I'm calling it "A Lola Borealis," which is actually even more appropriate because the breeders named her Aurora originally! I really wanted to capture Lola's light and love. When my sister brought her home I couldn't stop crying because of how cute, fuzzy, and sweet she was. I'm so happy I was able to immortalize her!
Well that's about it for me today! Thank you all so much for the read, I'm gonna go paint now! Don't forget to check out my social media pages, and feel free to drop by Ruby's tonight around 9 for some dope hip hop and live painting action from me! I shall leave you with an in-progress picture of a painting that's been in the works for what seems like forever. Thank you!
I'm so excited to announce my first artshow out of college! Thank you everyone for all of the support, it means a lot <3 Here is a link to the official facebook event, as well as my official artist statement. I can't wait to see you all there!
I don’t quite know how to put this show into words. This past year has been very tumultuous, but in the best way possible. I started working on this show at the beginning of my senior year of college. Nobody really tells you going into it how complicated and intense it all feels. Being an artist, and in a dying medium at that, you really start to get terrified of “post-grad life;” what soul-sucking job will sustain me while I try to make art on the side? And now that I’m wasting half my life at said job, where will I get any good inspiration?
Ultimately, I decided that my life would not go that way. Decisions like this are hard to stick by, though. It’s like an invisible crowd of people is always surrounding you and demanding your immediate success. Despite this, as usual, I’ve channeled my anxiety into artmaking. Being happy, I’ve realized, isn’t totally about your job, financial success, or even having a clue about what you’re going to do with your life. Obviously these things are important and keep your life moving, but the more light you shine on the positive aspects of your life, the more likely you are to grow and move on from that which was hurting you. Most importantly, you’ll make peace with it.
This show represents not only a diverse collection of ideas, but of mediums, techniques, and experiments. You’ll find some of my traditional style (thoroughly planned smooth acrylic and oil paintings leaning towards surrealism), as well as my experiments with palette knives, screenprinting, and stream-of-consciousness paintings. All of the changes I was facing inspired me to create in new ways and ultimately embrace new experiences rather than simply be open to them.
Focusing on the positive attracted some of the best people, experiences, opportunities, and most importantly, healing into my life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this show is a celebration and outpouring of love. Thank you for taking the time to look at my show and support a local artist.
LOOKIE LOOKIE I finally changed the name of my website, dropped the .weebly part of it, and changed a few fonts around. There are gonna be lots of updates over the next few days. Specifically speaking they should be...
1. All of my new screenprints, and better pictures of the old ones, because who would actually wanna buy something based off of a grainy cell-phone image?
2. I'm gonna be making stickers soon, which will be available for purchase or will come for free with the purchase of a print or an original artwork.
3. More blogposts and updates about upcoming artworks and my life, for your reading pleasure.
4. I'll probably think of this one as soon as I hit "Post" and won't feel like going back to change it.
In the meantime, here is a commission I completed recently for Sharon, my boyfriend's mom, and a picture of my new kitten, Leeloo!
Also, funfact, I GRADUATED. Look at all them JMU alumni! Glad I finally got to join the club.
I am proud to say that I just experienced the best year of my life thus far. It was so great it took me a week to sit down and write about it haha. But seriously, I couldn't have dreamed of a better year; I'm so, so thankful. I've never felt so much love not only for my family, friends, and my boyfriend, but also for myself. I'm not going to pretend that this year didn't have it's kinks, but I wouldn't love this past year any more without them, and in fact would probably love it less. Kinks definitely have their place in life, and I've learned a lot this year because of them. More importantly though, I had amazing people around to support me, and I couldn't be more thankful for them.
BUT enough about that. I've finally updated my portfolio, and have added tabs for drawing, screenprinting, and three-dimensional work. Clicking the portfolio button itself will take you to my paintings. Go ahead and take a gander :)
Hey there anyone who might possibly look at this website! There are updates coming soon. This semester really got away from me, but I assure you that new paintings as well as screen prints and some ceramics work will be up soon! Who knows, I might even write an actual blog post where I go super in depth about my work and other parts of my life where I've found inspiration lately. You know, my typical babbling and uncanny professionalism haha.
To tide y'all over until I make a real post/update, here's a picture of an in-progress work that was hanging in the Artful Dodger this past month. It was part of something my professor likes to call "Renegade Week" where we try something we haven't done before and adventure a little bit. I chose to go the unplanned route since (at the time and possibly now) I felt like my life was planned out down to the second; I wanted to let go and not think for like, ten minutes (it was obviously more than that, but this semester feels like it flew by that fast).
Anyway, I'm talking way more than I was planning to. Be on the lookout this month for a real update :)
So July 18th of 2014 was thus far probably one of the best days of my life. I met my longtime heroes: PARAMORE!!! I've waited eight years to meet this band. I'm still getting emotional just thinking about what a beautiful moment this was for me. It has me feeling so incredibly inspired.
So first, they let us all in pretty late. I still almost couldn't believe what was about to happen. Since I was in the middle of the line, they used me ("girl with orange hair") to make a second line. They told us that since Jeremy had just gotten surgery on a hernia that we were absolutely not allowed to touch him and that we had to ask Hayley yes or no questions since she was on vocal rest. Thankfully, everyone still got a good minute with the band. Then shit got real, because Paramore walked out and started waving at all of us. Then, one of the coolest things happened. Hayley looked over at me and pointed to my hair and her hair and gave me a huge thumbs up and was mouthing to me that she liked my hair! Naturally, I was already starting to freak out a little bit.
So since I was at the front of the second line I was able to watch everyone else meet the band. This gave me a little more confidence since I was nervous that I'd be the only person that would be totally star struck (I watched a grown ass man cry yesterday, it was beautiful). After waiting a while and getting more nervous it was finally my turn. I felt like the Barbie from the end of Toy Story 2, it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to stop smiling! I always make eye contact when I talk to people, but when I tried to I just couldn't! I was honestly scared that I would start crying and not be able to stop long enough to say anything!
As I was holding the poster for Taylor to sign I looked down and said, "I'm trying so hard not to cry right now, you guys." And Taylor said, "But if you cry then we all cry and it'll be a huge mess!" So I started laughing. Then I looked up when Hayley began to sign and she looked directly into my eyes and asked me what kind of hair dye I use even though she was on vocal rest! I couldn't believe that Hayley Williams was talking to me, especially about hair dye. Plus, the girl taking pictures totally captured this insane moment.
As Jeremy signed the poster I told Hayley that I used Special Effects and she actually told me that they'd discontinued Napalm Orange, which is the shade I use. I had no idea since I buy a few at a time, but hey, maybe that's why she's making her own! She said it isn't anything she wouldn't use herself, so I'm assuming it'll be great quality. I hope it glows under a black light, though. UV REACTIVE DYE IS SO FUN OKAY. Drunk people at parties think it's ~*amazing*~ haha.
So then we finally took our picture and I gave them the letter I wrote them, which was hilariously awkward. As I turned to leave a picked up my poster I remembered to give it to them. I turned around and said, "Oh wait, this is for you guys!" But then Hayley and Taylor both went for it, so then I didn't know which one to hand it to, and it was really funny haha. It was so cool though. I just hope I am this excited about getting married and stuff. Here's the letter I wrote them:
I don't think I need to go too much into detail about how this band has inspired me and my work (especially throughout high school, which isn't posted here). I'd like to think it shows through haha. Honestly, their ballsy-ness in the development of their self-titled album really inspired my experimentation with color and pattern. A lot of people don't like when artists reinvent themselves and take steps in new directions, but I think that when your life changes then your art will naturally change too. Otherwise, you'd be lying to yourself. It's the same way that Picasso went through his blue period and his cubist period. It just happens. I love it.
Needless to say, the show was INCREDIBLE. My spot wasn't the best, but the lights and their performance was insane. During the last verse in The Only Exception Hayley soloed while the audience sang the verse and it was so beautiful it honestly brought me to tears. I'll post a link to a video I found of it when I'm on a computer again.
I was also so excited about meeting Paramore that I forgot that I was going to see Fall Out Boy! Their performance was also insanely awesome. Their final encore was Saturday, which is one of my favorite songs by them. Pete Wentz crawled out into the crowd during the last verse, it was one of the coolest things ever!
I don't currently have the lanyard, button pack, or screen print to post pictures of, but here's the super sweet Goosebumps inspired shirt I bought from the merch table!
My name is Allison Nickens. I graduated from James Madison University with a BFA in Fine Art in 2015. After graduation I began live painting at music and arts festivals and at local shows, and still continue to show and sell my work around Harrisonburg,VA.
Upcoming Shows & Events
Valley Fusion Festival
Solo Show at The Camel
Solo Show at Restless Moons Brewing