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I am Nicole Griffin - Artist Journey

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

I‘ve wanted to write a blog post for a while lol but I never seem to get around to it until the end of the year. Just a little update. I've changed a lot this year. Happens every year I think, but really this year I became an adult haha. I moved into a new house. That was crazy. And like, it's my house. Crazy. I love it. Also, being out of college for a bit I have noticed I am very comfortable being alone in my home and I kind of forget that other people exist sometimes. That's okay. I've always been this way. Needless to say - I am learning things. Great.

I felt like I didn't create much this year until I made my 2022 end-of-year video (see it on TikTok and Instagram) and it was a lot of crochet and 3D printing. I just didn't paint as much. And for some reason, I pay attention to these things as if they matter. They don't. I'm just trying to express my creativity and work on my skills. I really don't know what I'm doing sometimes lol.

The following is something I wrote recently, trying to make sense of my life and I wanted to share my journey of these last few years:

As I'm currently trying to take inventory of all of my art, organizing photos into folders, swiftly taking notes on what content I have to post where, and thinking of how I'm going to make it all happen. You see, I wouldn't have publicly considered myself an artist in the past. I didn't think I was good enough. I was honestly embarrassed about it. And that thought really stuck with me, making it hard to sit down and actually share my work with the world.

I was thinking back on how it all started. In college. Sure, I had been drawing and painting before then. It was my coping mechanism of choice as a child, and as an adult once I started focusing more on myself again. But, I had a friend in college that really helped me grow as a person and step outside of my comfort zone for a bit. She liked painting. Just for fun. And I knew I liked painting. Just for fun. I definitely did not consider myself a good painter at that time. I usually had always just taken drawing classes or doodled in my notebooks to pass the time.

One thing I knew going to Purdue was I wanted to minor in Art. I originally had always dreamed of going to an Art or Fashion school, but it was never realistic for me financially, and my mother also said "they are called starving artists for a reason!". It didn't bother me too much to settle for Purdue, which is a great school, and where I went on scholarship. I will feel forever grateful for the opportunities I had as a student there. One thing I do regret though is not earning a double minor in Psychology, and not making more connections (it’s something I’m not great at). It's something I didn't even think about until my senior year. It's just something I'm really interested in, but that topic is for another time.

Me and this friend started hanging out a lot in our sophomore year at Purdue. We painted stupid memes together, laughed a lot, and I learned that I actually really enjoy the freedom I feel when I paint. Lines don't have to be perfect (unless that's your thing). It’s also super fun and exciting for me to experiment with colors and textures, things you don't necessarily get with drawing. With my new passion in mind, I decided to finally take an oil painting class in my senior year, after completing my drawing and art history prerequisites. I really transformed into my true self that semester. It seemed like everything was going my way, and I decided to create an Instagram page dedicated to my art, along with this website soon after. Once I started posting and seeing people liking my art, I gained more confidence to continue creating and kept at it consistently for about a year, selling my art and painting commissioned pieces.

I'll never forget the first piece I sold to someone that wasn't a part of my family. It was 2019, and I had just started getting involved in the Marine Corps Officer Candidate program. I'm not sure what part of me thought I wanted to go into the Marine Corps, but it was clear after completing my first 6 weeks of Officer Candidate School (OCS), that I was in over my head. At this time, I had started making YouTube videos about my OCS journey because I had not seen a lot of female OCS content online. And honestly, I was terrified in the days and weeks leading up to OCS because I had no clue what to expect once I was there.

blind contour pen drawing of young woman on newsprint

Again, this story is for another day haha (you can see my OCS diary on YouTube). But one day while I was at the recruiting office speaking with my selection officer, I had just come

from my drawing class. I was talking about my new art Instagram and joking about how everyone in the office should follow it. To my surprise, they did and asked if I had anything else with me to share with them.

I took out my sketchbook where we had just done some blind contour drawings of another classmate. One woman working at the office absolutely loved this drawing I did in less than 5 minutes. It was on newsprint. It wasn't even a painting. She asked me to sign it for her right then and there lol. And that's when my eyes opened. What do other people like when it comes to art? What do they value? What makes a piece "good"?

acrylic ocean sunset painting

This reminds me of another time I sold a painting randomly - in my college apartment to my maintenance guy. Story for another day? Let me know (it was this painting lol thanks Bob Ross).

At this time I think TikTok had already become popular, and I also started posting art content there, but I really became obsessed with what other people would like. For a while, I was creating stuff I didn't even like or enjoy creating. I was painting with acrylic before I transitioned to oils in 2020. And even did some chalk art with my roommate for a bit. It was fun, for sure!

acrylic painting white world's best boss mug

Around this time is when I started taking commissions. My first commission was in 2019. I made an acrylic "World's Best Boss" mug for my friend as a gift for her dad's birthday. I'll be honest this was not my best work. It was much larger than I was used to, but I did try my best at the time, and I was painting it in my dorm room with limited supplies. I was really excited she had wanted me to paint something for her and didn't want to say no. This was before I took a trip to Michael's for my painting class senior year and started experimenting with oil paints (there's a reason I paint with oil now instead of acrylic lol).

The next commission was about a year later. My dad had wanted some art from me. He's always loved my creativity. My dad and I kind of have the same messed-up brain.

So when he saw my painting "McDonqui Truck", he absolutely needed to have it. Before painting a picture of his '69 Corvette Stringray, I created a few charcoal drawings for him as well. I also created a few tattoo drawings for my friends and, for a week, I thought I had wanted to become a tattoo artist. Needless to say, I found my way to drawing and painting some more commissions for friends and family. The hard part about selling your art to friends and family, though, is they may want that "friends and family discount". I've created a lot of art for free. I've donated a lot of paintings to shows just so I didn't have them sitting around my house. I guess I really never thought I could make it as an artist, so being a people pleaser in this way can be easy to do.

Eventually, in 2022, I kind of found my way with art (and life maybe?). I've discovered what I like, what I don’t like, things I'm not great at, things I am great at, etc. I have learned a whole bunch of things in the last couple of years. And now I think I am ready to apply those things. I mostly crochet now. I still love oil painting. I'm not sure if I want to accept commissions right now or not. I've also been into digital art for the last two years. And photography will always have a place in my heart. I love so many things. Right now, I feel as if I am reintroducing myself – as the person I've always been inside but was too scared to show on the outside. I'm not exactly sure what the future holds for me or really what I'm doing, I just know I've really missed writing and sharing my life with others (no matter how few). And I want to document my life while I can. <3

I have some projects I want to work on in the new year. Some paintings, but I also want to continue creating crochet/clothing designs, and just improving my skill and confidence overall. I’ve tried many times to ”niche down”. I am the niche lol. Maybe I’ll figure it out one day. Follow along for more about my Artist Journey in the future. :)

Happy New Year!

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