“This series gives tribute to the adventurous, inventive spirit of the American people.” ~Nikki Smith
Nikki Smith transforms vintage patent drawings into modern art in this series which explores the arts of transportation and invention. Featuring Harley-Davidsons from the 1920′s, turn of the century horse patents, human-powered flight and more.
Winner of the prestigious International FAA “Tony” Award for Artistic Merit in 2013, local Bryan, TX artist Nikki Smith’s artwork and articles have been featured in numerous issues of Cloth Paper Scissors, PAGES, and Somerset Digital Studios magazines as well as a full page article in The Houston Chronicle and as the featured artist in an upcoming issue of Flair magazine. Her artwork has traveled to collectors in twelve countries and across the USA.
I’m please to announce that The Noble Swede Gallery in La Grange, Texas will be featuring artwork from my series “The Art of Invention” beginning November 1st, including several vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles, inspired human-powered flight, vintage horse patents and more.
The opening reception is Friday, November 15th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm where you can meet the artist, enjoy refreshments and explore artwork that celebrates the inventive spirit of the American people.
Signed metal wall art and fine art giclée prints will be available at the gallery through the the start of next year.
Fine art prints in other sizes and materials are available upon request, including canvas, metal, acrylic and fine art papers. Explore the growing patent-inspired series including sports themes (golf, football, etc), trades/professions (medical, dental, sciences, fireman, etc.), and hobbies ( cameras, novelties, guns, musical instruments, etc.)
If you are in La Grange, Texas or surrounding communities, please join me on Friday, November 15th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at The Noble Swede Gallery for refreshments and to meet the artist!
If you can’t make the reception, you can still see and purchase the artwork at The Noble Swede Gallery over the next few months. Their holiday hours are 10am to 6pm Fridays and Saturdays. Additional sizes and patent artwork topics are available through my website, http://nikkimarie-smith.artstwebsites.com.
Map / Directions to The Noble Swede Gallery @ 107 West Colorado Street, La Grange, Texas:
After receiving the FAA Artistic Merit “Tony” Award earlier this summer, I was contacted for an interview by Megan Mattingly-Arthur, writer for the Houston Chronicle. The full-page interview was published yesterday in Houston Chronicle’s “Faces in the Crowd” special feature. You can read the full article online here.
Drum roll please… It is my great privilege to announce the next winner of the FAA Artistic Merit Award, Leah Saulnier the Painting Maniac!
Leah’s artwork is wonderfully imaginative, masterfully executed, frequently laugh-out-loud humorous, and always thought provoking. As a surrealist and humorist painter, Leah is an accomplished story teller in oil with a truly distinctive style.
I have some exciting news to share! I recently received the FAA Artistic Merit Award (fondly referred to as the FAA “Tony Award”) for my artwork and contributions to the arts community.
Artist Nikki Smith, FAA Artistic Merit Award winner, 2013
(a.k.a. the “Tony” Award)
This award recognizes artists in FineArtAmerica.com, an online artists community with 170,000+ artists and a growing collection of over 5 million pieces of artwork. Since its inception in 2008, the FAA Artistic Merit Award (fondly known as the “Tony” Award after its creator, artist Tony Murray) has traveled from the United States through Canada, Mexico, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom and many places in between.
I was nominated by fellow artist and award-winning nature photographer, Christina Rollo. In her nomination she stated: “Nikki’s music series is highly creative, positively upbeat and artistic, with her own unique style. I continue to be inspired by Nikki’s work and I enjoy her warm friendly personality. It’s easy to see that all of her artful creations are an extension of herself.”
Below are a few samples of my artwork that led to my winning this award:
The award travels from artist to artist, with each recipient engraving their name on the sculpture. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about signing my name in metal as I’ve never done that before. So, I had a little fun with it — you can see my thought process to the right.
I’m seriously pinching myself right now. I have this amazing sculpture that I’m turning around in my hands, running my fingers over the engraved names of the artists who received this award in the past. Now, my own name is engraved here, too. It feels a bit like a dream, but the metal is cool against my skin and there is such a presence to this trophy and the artists it represents. I cherish being a part of a such an amazingly creative and caring community. I’m truly honored and humbled to receive this award from my peers at Fine Art America, and to join this select group of very talented artists!
I love music. I love how it can sweep me away, create a mood, give me energy and lift my spirits. More and more, I’m seeing my artwork reflect the music that inspires me to create. This piece is no exception:
This is a quick tutorial for my artist friends (and anyone, really) who have asked me how I set-up my friendly Google Plus link: http://gplus.to/nikkismith
If you are unfamiliar with Google Plus, it is a social networking and sharing website rich in photos and content, much like FaceBook however without the annoying ads and with (in my opinion) a nicer way to group and sort contacts into “circles.” It is gaining popularity with artists and photographers as well as the general public. However, one feature that is sorely lacking is the ability to create a short and friendly link for your account that can be used in printed materials like business cards or told to a friend over the phone.
Step Two: Look at the URL in the address bar of your browser. It should look similar to this, though it may be even longer:
Do you see the number that I’ve highlighted above? This is your Google Plus ID, located right after the “.com/” and before the next “/” slash sign (ignore anything else — the link you see may be very long, but this first number is the important part.) Highlight this number with your mouse and press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys at the same time to copy it (or if you are on a Mac, press “Option” and “C” at the same time.)
Step Three: In a new browser window, open this website: http://gplus.to This is a company (independent from Google) that provides a URL-shortening service for Google Plus accounts.
Step Four: You will see a short form with two boxes (see below). First, click in the “Your Google+ ID” box, located on the right. Press “Ctrl” and “V” to paste your Google Plus ID (or “Option” plus “V” on a Mac).
Step 5: Next, click in the “Nick Name” box. Your nick name can be between 3 to 25 characters long and should not contain any special characters (only Latin characters and numbers). For example, try your first and last names, etc.
Step 6: Click on the “add” button. If no one else has claimed that nick name, then it’s yours! Otherwise you will be prompted to pick a different nick name.
Congratulations! You now have a short and friendly URL for your Google Plus account! Copy-and-paste it into your browser address bar and you will be instantly redirected to your Google Plus account. Add it to your email signature, print it on your business cards, or use it wherever you need to share your Google+ link.
If this was helpful and you would like to see more tutorials like this in the future, just leave a comment below and let me know what you would like to see! Feel free to introduce yourself and share your friendly Google+ link in the comments below.
I’m lovin’ the paper necklaces that my friend Andreea and I made on our art date last week. The concept is as simple as can be (though it requires some patience) and the resulting jewelry is stunningly elegant, lean-in-for-a-closer-look, touchable and oh so fun!
Tip: Determine how many pages your punch can cut through at once. I started out punching these shapes one at a time (yikes!) and it would have taken me days to complete if I hadn’t realized this simple time saving trick. My friend was able to cut six sheets of paper at a time with her newer punches, while the double-heart punch I used could cut about four sheets at a time.
If you are using a punch that already has a hole in the middle (as I did with the double heart punch shown above) then line up your papers and start punching. Otherwise, begin by using the small hole punch to make the holes for the centers of your paper shapes. Next, turn your circle or shape punch upside down so you can see through it and line up the punch so that the inner hole is as close as possible to the center of the final shape.
Punch, punch, punch and punch some more… (Turn on some tunes!)
Bonus Tip: My hands got tired and sore after a few hours but I was determined to keep going. Then it dawned on me that I could also punch on a hard floor using my foot and the heel of my shoe rather than the palm of my hand. This won’t work with every style of punch, but it sure helped my hands feel better.
Optional: I placed my cut paper shapes on a wooden skewer with a piece of cork at the end for easy storage while I continued punching.
Now for the fun part! There are a few ways to proceed from here, depending on what style you like best…
Version 1: String your paper shapes onto the necklace and try it on. The paper shapes will tend to lie flush with each other, perpendicular to your skin.
Version 2: Use beads (or even paper beads) to space the necklace out.
Version 3:This is my own variation, which I love! To make the papers overlap nicely so that details can be seen all along the necklace (as shown in the photos here), you will need to glue a few small clusters of paper shapes together and space them around the necklace. I took groups of four to six hearts and threaded them on to my wire necklace, gently overlapping them. I applied a small amount of glue (I used ModgePodge) with a paint brush to where the papers overlapped and then let the set dry on the wire. You can see one of these clusters in the lower-right corner of the photo below. I made about eight of these clusters and spaced them around the necklace. All other hearts are loose, individual papers. The clusters have the effect of forcing the other papers to lay at an angle and overlap. Beautiful, and so touchable!
I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial! I believe this is the third sheet-music necklace I’ve made, each in a completely different style. One was a charming little booklace (mini-book on a necklace) as featured on CraftGawker, and another was based on a tear-drop shaped piece of vintage sheet music coated with ice resin for a transparent look. I’m passionate about music, and I love expressing this passion in my artwork, especially in such a touchable form! How have you incorporated music in your artwork?
One of the most powerful tools in PhotoShop for artists is the ability to install and use custom brushes. Here is a handy tutorial that walks you through the process:
STEP 1: Locate brushes.
There are many great places to find PhotoShop brushes including a Google Search or one of my favorite resources: Deviant Art.
Tip: Pay attention to the licensing of the brushes you discover. Many brushes are free to use in any way you wish while others require attribution or are for personal use only.
STEP 2: Download and save the brushes (“.abr” files) to your computer. NOTE: If the brushes were compressed in a “.zip” or “.rar” file, then after you download it you will need to un-zip the file to find the .abr brush files.
STEP 3: Place the “.abr” brush files in the following location:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Brushes
My Found Poetry self-portrait is published in the current Jan/Feb ’13 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine!
To create this mixed-media self-portrait I rescued a severely damaged and abandoned book and upcycled it into fine artwork, selecting a word here and there and piecing them into unique, original poems and stories. Here are a few samples (but not all) of my poetry in this piece:
“one raindrop fell,
and then many,
a perfect circle expanded
perhaps a little breathless
you chose this moment
to kiss me”
from her lips
in slow-motion arcs
a sudden thought
a kiss. a smile.
crazed like fire-flies.
it was like a vision
it made me feel
sexy as hell.”
“I was deeply in love with
my own idea of love.”
And, surrounded by my swirling breath in gold paint: “I imagine no more words were necessary”
I highly recommend viewing the piece close-up to read further poetry hidden within the artwork. You can do so by visiting this link and clicking anywhere on the artwork for a detail view.
The following step-by-step video tutorial is designed for artists who want to create a video slideshow of their artwork, complete with music soundtrack. You can then share your video on YouTube, your blog, or social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus and more. The (free) software used in this video is Windows Live Movie Maker.
This tutorial is a companion to my “Getting Technical: Video Simplified” article in the current Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. I hope you enjoy it!
As a book artist, I love exploring new book forms, structures and bindings. I have found artist books to be the perfect creative art form, with limitless possibilities for artistic and personal expression.
I also love learning new techniques and experimenting with other art forms. My Wee Planet photography series is a current passion!
Interviewed by the Houston Chronicle, Aug. 21st, 2013
My Wee Planet Tutorial is published in Cloth Paper Scissors Mar/April 2012 issue!
The Eagle ran a two page article about my artwork on Sun, Nov 6th, 2011