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Daily Inspiration: Meet Nicole Havekost

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Havekost.

Nicole, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I have always loved art and made things… but I didn’t know you could be an artist. I had never met one. So, I decided I would be a cartoonist because that was drawing and I saw that work in the newspaper every day. In high school, I had become pretty skilled but I didn’t know I had an artistic voice until I went to art school for undergrad. It was there that I found my people and the beginning of a voice.

I had intended to be an apparel designer, but in my sophomore year, I realized that precision sewing and fabric were not my medium, or so I thought. Nearly twenty-five years later, I make hand-stitched felt sculptures. Sewing and fabric was my medium, I just hadn’t learned to use my voice with it. Last year, I had my first museum exhibition with monumental figurative felt sculpture and it has been one of the best experiences of my creative career.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Making art is hard. The first thing you have to do is get okay with making a lot of bad art. You have to learn to turn off the critic in your head so that you can actually get the work made. Then you have to work to get people to see it, which comes with a lot of rejection. That just strengthens the inner critic. Then you probably have to work a job that can make you some money while you make the art that you are trying to get seen.

But if you are lucky, you will find the people who challenge and support you on your creative journey and it becomes easier to do the things. I realized quite early that I was not a good partner, mother, teacher… not my best self… if I was not making work. So, I make art to be a better me.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I do a lot of things creatively, but I’ve spent the last couple of years creating hand-stitched felt sculpture that is both free-standing and on the wall. This work is about living in a body. The physical body is so weird and miraculous. It is both civilized and feral. The body tells our stories. So, I make my word to describe my experiences as a woman, mother, and daughter.

I use my work to explore the corporeal experience we all share. My favorite things to make straddle the edge between the beautiful and the grotesque. If I can get someone to get up close for a look and then maybe shudder a little when they see what is there I have done my job.

What are your plans for the future?
As I mentioned, I just had my first museum exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In two years, I will have another two-person exhibition at the South Bend Museum of Art and I am hoping to take some time to work at an artist residency while preparing for that.

I will also continue to teach part-time and parent. I am really looking forward to growing with my work and building some professional practices that will make this work more sustainable.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Chris Rackley

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