Local fiber artist and illustrator Nichol Brinkman has been selected as an artist and demonstrator at the 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival!
Based in Thibodaux, the artist has been creating since she was a child. “I always wanted to be an artist,” Brinkman shared. Studying painting at the Memphis College of Art, she took a fiber arts class during her last semester, and found it fascinating. “I didn’t know how to sew before that, and we didn’t do much sewing in the class, but I was exposed to that and embroidery and weaving, and I found it all very cool and exciting,” said Brinkman.
Brinkman has always had a passion for drawing characters, and bringing her illustrations to life with fabric was even more exciting. When Brinkman’s mom passed away, the artist needed a way to deal with her grief. She started a blog “A Pillow Monster A Day”, and created a creature every day, honing her skills.
Years later, Brkinkman is still creating works of art, including soft sculptures (dolls), paintings and drawings, gaining notoriety for her unique style and talent. “I want my art to communicate joy and a sense of wonder. I show my work in person at art markets, and I love when people come in and get wide-eyed and smile. I feel very lucky when that happens,” the artist explains.
“Choosing patterns and picking color combinations is maybe my favorite part of the process. I buy a lot of fabric, and I choose them as I go. I usually lay several things next to each other and narrow it down based on how they interact. I love to mix things in a surprising way, and I also pay attention to how patterns fall on the sculpture. It’s those little steps that I’m not sure people notice, but make the doll more of a work of art,” said Brinkman.
In addition to demonstrating painting at Jazz Fest, the artist will be a vendor, selling her soft sculptures, paintings and drawings the second weekend of the festival. The artists’ debut at Jazz Fest is fitting, as she draws inspiration for her creations from New Orleans homes, and gardens, and has authored a book, “The ABCs of New Orleans.” Locally, her book and stickers can be found at South Coast Baby in Thibodaux. In addition, Fleurty Girl and Home Malone carry some of her merchandise, and the artist sells her art in person twice a month at the Arts Market of New Orleans, held in City Park and Marsalis Harmony Park.