Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Interview with marker artist Nicole Little (littleoutrageous)

I asked Nicole for this interview simply because i love her marker portraits, that consistently caught my eyes while browsing through the JKPP pool and made me curious about her.

Kai: Would you tell a little about yourself?

Nicole: Okay! My favourite type of books are children's books. I like jumping and climbing on things and I believe that skipping is one of the most efficient ways to travel. Also, I am absolutely terrible with responsibility, unemployed, and almost always in love.

Kai: You say you live for two things. One of them is art. What's the other one you live for?

Nicole: That was left vague for a very p.g reason. The other thing I live for is orgasms.

Kai: You work in an unusual medium. What do you like about markers?

Nicole: I don't just like working with markers, I am a marker artist. I'm not just saying that to be snotty either, I really do think of myself that way. It took me years to get to the point where I can be comfortable calling myself an artist. I thought I had arrived when I figured out how to apply what I had learned over my decades long love affair with ink doodles, and make something roughly resembling a likeness. I look at your work, Kai, and I know that I still have a long path ahead of me with pen. But marker is unique. I use a ton of different types, mix them pretty freely with india ink, pencil, pencil crayon, and oils, and what I end up with, simply because the medium is so damn new, is a fresh thing. There are other artists out there working with markers - Pierre Willemin is doing what I'm doing with a lot less product - but right now we marker artists are forging our own path. I like being an innovator and markers gives me that. Also, the colours are pretty.

Kai: You've done a lot of double and triple portraits, even five and sevenfold portraits by combining different people or different views of the same person in one picture. What's the idea behind your preference for multiple portraits?

Nicole: Ha ha. Ya. I guess I want to make sure I get in an image that actually shows off the subject. There are so many decisions that we all make in a portrait, and sometimes you can take someone in a flattering direction or to a really an insane place. One is not necessarily more accurate than the other. You know? It's about getting aspects and adding them up to recreate the person. Like Frankenstein without the corpses.

Kai: How do you choose the couples for your double portraits?

Nicole: I fall in love with them both in the same way.

Kai: You say „Marker + Moleskine = Happiness“. What makes the magic of this combination?

Nicole: Small moleskines take marker extremely well although the larger ($$$!!!) moleskines have a different texture, which doesn't. I just fell for markers and colour in a big way and decided to invest in moleskines so that I'd value each page and put real time and effort into it. So I guess the happiness is that feeling of personal accomplishment. I must have said that a while ago though... I'm not satisfied with my work right now.

Kai: Will you be satisfied with your work one day? Is it a question of time or quality or mental attitude? What do you miss about your work?

Nicole: One day I will be dead. That will be similar to being satisfied with my work in that I will not be dissatisfied with it. I find relatively successful works to be very temporary highs - like crack cocaine.

Kai: Who inspires you?

Nicole: The flickr community inspires me massively because it inspires me to work hard. There is so much talent out there and I want so badly to be as good as the best. The Collective, an amazing art group here in Toronto, inspires me for exactly the same reason. It's friendly competition and it makes us all better. Models inspire me when they're muses and even when they're not because in the end, finding something unique in someone who seemed plain means that I get to play and spotlight and become inventive.
Mostly though, I'm inspired by challenges. As an artist, I think it's crucial that we put ourselves in tiny, tight boxes (heh heh) and then imagine and invent our way out.

Kai: What's outrageous about you / your art?

Nicole: Just a little outrageous. I'm usually kind of indignant, so the name is a reference to a personality trait, in one sense. It's a reference to little death as well, and I think that shows in my better work.

Kai: What does flickr mean to you?

Nicole: Flickr means a community, a support system, and a method of spying on other artists as a means of motivation. It's also the best place I know to spend an hour or two and actually get to see real, original art.

Kai: What does JKPP mean to you?

Nicole: JKPP is so tied into flickr for me. I love the idea of it. I love seeing different takes on the same images and people, different styles at play. I love the sense of community and acceptance that I find with JKPP members I've had the privilege of being personally connected to, and I love that I get to see that same spirit in the wider community.
JKPP is a massive talent pool that really revolves around Julia's innovation and dedication. I think it takes a true artist to set the parameters for an group like this, and the success of the group belongs first to its innovator and then to it's members.
I get so much community, so much support, so much competition, and exposure to so many talented artists.
This group has made me a better artist.

Kai: Thank you Nicole!

Nicole: Thanks for asking Kai!

View Nicole's art at her Flickr photostream here - littleoutrageous


  1. Great interview Kai, thanks!
    I love your honesty Nicole :-)
    It's interesting what you say about your Frankenstein portraits, how true!

  2. Fantastic interview. I love the boldness in everything you do, Nicole!
    & couldn't agree more about the community of JKPP/flickr!

  3. Great interview indeed! Thank you both.
    Your intelligence and subtelty are as amazing as your art, Nicole.

  4. fresh work and well imagined behavior and conversation make Nicole one of my favorite artists. I am delighted to have become one of her friends at the collective.

  5. Thanks for an interesting interview with insights to Nicole's artmaking thoughts and processes.

  6. one of my favourite JKPP artists talking artist to artist about the main things in life and making sense. Nicole is always in the front row checking things out and cheering people on, making work to see what happens next, brave and talented.

  7. Nicole's beautiful and original talent and use of markers in her artwork stands out for me as well. I can recognize her portraits anywhere and there's always a sense of fun and adventure behind each one. She gives life to her subjects, perhaps because she herself is so ALIVE!

    Thank you both for the inspirational interview. :)

  8. Great interview! I loved learning about Nicole's viewpoints, for I've been a fan of her work for a good while now... I consider her to be among the cream of the crop, for sure! Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Great insight into an artist forging a new path.