Artists We Love: Nikki Joiner
Our California desert girl, Nikki Joiner, has inspired us since day one. You can find her adventuring in Joshua Tree creating beautiful paintings that are instantly recognizable as her very own. Read along to get behind her creative process and learn more about the day in the life of a California artist. ☼
Tell us about yourself & your art background
I always loved drawing, and when I was 7 or 8 my parents got me my first professional set of oil paints and I remember using those to paint red flowers for anyone who would take one. In high school I wanted to become an illustrator and spent a lot of time writing stories and drawing characters. After a few years of college I started working and began making fashion illustrations of my favorite bloggers and their outfits just for fun. Soon, I began getting requests for couple portraits and that became to be a side hustle of mine.
What is a typical day in the life?
I love having a cup of coffee at Starbucks early in the morning, and there I reply to any emails, edit photos, and go on Pinterest for motivation/inspiration. On Monday's I go to the art store and stock up on any materials I'll need for the upcoming week. When I get home I'll paint a few orders, and get any packages ready to ship out, and since the post office closes at 5, I have a personal deadline to finish at 4. I tend to paint from 2pm till dinner, and then from 9pm- till whenever I get too tired to continue painting. Sunday's are days I try to keep as my off days with family.
What is your creative process like?
I keep sketchbooks with me at all times. I've got one to fit in almost any bag, and even have some stored in my car! Every time I think of something that would be an interesting shape or design, I sketch it out. Sometimes those sketches don't go anywhere, but more often than not, I've used them in the future. I also love the colors that the sunset/golden hour bring, and I try to use those colors in everything I make, and as something I base my work on.
Any other mediums you love to work in/experiment with?
I'm really fascinated by sustainable fashion, and I'm playing with a few ideas on how to work those ideas into my art. I used to work a lot with oil paints, and would love to get back into that to experiment with more texture and color.
What artists inspire your work?
Picasso and Henri Matisse are two of my art "heroes" of the past. Their work ethic and the way they were in a constant state of creating multiple new works of art in a variety of different mediums is so inspiring. I love that both of them didn't try to limit their creativity, but sought out different ways to grow and become better.
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on a new series that I'm going to be releasing soon, as well as new canvas pieces for an art walk I'll be participating in this month!
Ever find yourself in a creative rut? How do you pull yourself out?
Yes! I'll usually go through my sketchbooks to get excited about an idea again, or I'll go to my favorite coffee shop and just spend time looking for inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest. I try to create something every day, and some days I'll really like what I've made and other days it goes right into the trash. I think just being in the habit of making sure I keep on making something is better than not getting any ideas out at all.
What are some challenges & benefits of being a full time artist?
I'm not sure at this point I can fully say I'm a full-time artist. I work 2 days a week, and that provides a small safety net for me while i use the other days of the week to focus on creating and selling my art. The main benefit is being your own boss. I love being able to run with my own ideas and having the final say in everything I put out. The downside is that it’s hard for me to manage time wisely when doing everything on my own. I get caught up in working on things and get distracted easily so this is something I've really been trying to work on. Also, you never really stop working, but if you’re doing something you enjoy it doesn’t feel like work.
Any advice for young artists?
I'm really nervous about sharing advice, just because I feel like I still have a lot to learn! This year after really making an effort to make art more than something I loved doing on the side, I learned that sometimes you just have to start. I made list of my biggest goals, and then broke those goals down into smaller steps that I could do, and started crossing those off. You'll learn so much along the way, and it's ok to not feel like you have everything together! Just do the best you can with what you have, and keep on learning and growing as much as you can.