Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Nicole.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawing in books, painting on the sides of my shelves, and taking sharpie markers to the walls of many of my childhood friends. Almost anything was my canvas, but painting and illustrating was was just something I did. Growing up with very little, I went to college with hopes of securing a better future for myself and graduated with a degree in nutrition. While I’m proud of my accomplishment, I wasn’t very happy with where it was taking me. I was in classrooms and hospitals and finding myself stuck in a life that didn’t make sense.
Lost and unsure, I moved to Guyana to serve in the Peace Corps and used the opportunity to explore what I wanted to do with my life. Figuring it out was quite the trial and error, but the experience brought my creativity back out. Whether I was developing classroom lessons or painting a mural on the school walls, it became the forefront of my life. Once I clearly saw the impact of my creativity in my life, I knew how important it was to invest in this part of myself.
Now, I live in Arizona and I haven’t doubted my decision to commit to my creativity yet. I never planned on being an artist, but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine being anything else in this life.
Has it been a smooth road?
Getting started was the hardest part. For me, it took a long time to give myself permission to choose an unlikely path. At first, trying to make a career out of my artwork was overwhelming so I focused more on how important it was for me to just do it. I create because it makes me feel good and I had to decide what my life was worth pursuing that.
My advice for others in this industry–just go for it. You don’t have to justify it with practicalities or with “good enough” reasons. Be tenacious. You deserve the space and the opportunity to be valued for your talents. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you that it’s possible. Tell yourself it’s possible because it absolutely is.
Tell us more about your work.
I’m a painter and illustrator with a niche for modern floral artwork. While I enjoy landscapes, portraits, and animals too–flowers give me a lot of freedom to explore and express. I love to play with color, body language, and storytelling in my art. But more than anything, I value connection and I try to emulate the feeling of sharing a part of yourself and being completely understood. When I’m painting out of my own experiences or trying to reflect someone else’s, I pay a lot of attention to the emotions that come from those stories and try to capture their transparency. It might take a long time to cultivate, but I believe that’s why people love my artwork–each piece is deeply personal.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Many of our barriers are unseen. The need to please, the need to impress and overcompensate, the need to be perfect just to have a shot–it’s a constant battle against the world’s expectations. Women shouldn’t have to go to such extreme lengths to prove oneself or to feel valued. And while it might be our culture that enforces these behaviors or one’s desire to just get more recognition in this industry, the voices of so many women are minimized and limited by it.
We need to lead in the direction that suits our purpose first and get paid more for it. No apologies.
- Website: melanienicoleart.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: mmelanienicole
- Facebook: melanienicoleart