Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Fournier.
Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in a rural area in New Jersey. I grew up in a converted log cabin, and as a child, I loved playing in the woods and fishing off our dock. Since living really close to a lake, my fondest memories there were playing with the seemingly endless amount of baby toads, turning over logs and rocks anticipating to find salamanders, and playing in an abandoned cabin that was near us on my grandparent’s property.
My parents and I moved to the suburbs when I was 8 years old. My interest then was in music, but I really wasn’t aware of my interest in art until I went to college. After about 2 and a half years in university, I chose to declare art as my major. It just felt, “right”. I graduated from William Paterson University with a BFA in Graphic Design. In addition, I loved photography so much, so I took as many courses as I could there — I practically minored in photography. Soon after graduation, I got my first publishing job in New York City. I took pictures over the years, had some shows, and worked in the commercial aspect of photography in assisting, shooting weddings and portraits.
However, I never was satisfied with the final aspects of printed photographs. In 2005, I moved to Los Angeles, into an artistic community called “The Brewery”. The community roots began with the Edison Electric Steam Power Plant in 1903, and then a Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery. In 1982, it became what it is today — an artist colony that opens up twice a year to the public offering fine art open studio events. I participated in the events, showing my photography work then, comprised of pattern-based imagery, and (as from what I did in the past) images of female models in set up situations. Again, I was unsatisfied with just a standard photographic print. I wanted to get a more “hands-on” approach. I was always drawn to older styles of photography, such as tintypes and daguerreotypes.
I loved how they became distressed and/or decayed over the years. Instead of duplicating that look using a computer, around 2006 I researched ways on how to do photo transfers. That’s how I came across the encaustic process. I now enjoy working in this medium, which the final element of the art is just wax; a medium composed of beeswax and damar (tree sap used for hardening and raising the melting temperature). I use the images that I have photographed and transfer them directly into the wax surface, and embellish with the colored wax medium made from oil-based or powdered pigments.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It is super challenging to be an artist, in finding the time to create while having an additional yet stable full-time job. I’ve asked myself several times over the years… why do I keep wanting to create art? It’s an innate drive; it’s as if I don’t have any control over it. I do wish I had more time to divert to my art because I have more and more ideas accumulating over the years! I can’t be as social as I want to, plus other passions need to be put aside (i.e. music) otherwise I would spread myself too thin.
Nicole Fournier Fine Art – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My art is a combination of photography and encaustic. I transfer my images directly into beeswax and embellish with homemade colored wax mediums made from oil-based or powdered pigments. I enjoy the wide range of possibilities working with encaustic. In the transfer process, images are prone to rips and tears, not transferring fully to 100%.
Using wax gives images a faded, ethereal look in which I like. I choose to make my own encaustic medium. I like that it is a rather “green” type of medium, with the wax harvested in a non-invasive, sustainable way. I respect nature and our environment. I feel inclined to protect our planet, all people, life and resources. Anything we take we should replace because we initially do all coexist. Encaustic painting is one of the oldest forms of art known to man. Samples can be seen as far back as the Egyptian Fayum Mummy portraits, dating over 2,500 years old.
Excavation of these paintings have shown no mold, cracking, flaking, or fading. Unlike other mediums, encaustic paintings contain excellent archival properties. Working with encaustic is really appealing because not only does it allow me to combine photography with painting, drawing, and mixed media elements, it also allows for image transfers with the benefits of adding texture, transferable onto practically any type of surface! I love to offer my artistic method to clients with commissioned work. I am flexible in either shooting new work or use images a person might already have – or a combination of the two.
The final work of art becomes a one-of-a-kind piece, combining photography with the alluring textures and natural luminosity of wax. I love taking the time to work on a portrait and to reflect on how to represent the character of the person. Encaustic paintings are seducing, due to their luminosity, texture, and naturally aromatic smell.
Through my art, I enjoy expressing concepts of growth and awareness, and to promote the preservation of our external environment as well as the cultivation of our inner.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
As for an important characteristic in regards to defining success and my art, I enjoy honing in on a person’s “story”. Also, I love the fact that the medium I work in allows me such flexibility, in combining lots of other mediums within it, along with my first love of photography. I can get very detailed in capturing a person; down to such details of their personal items embedded into a piece of art, along with incorporating handwritten text.
Working in encaustic is all about layering. The art pieces take on a world of their own — an alluring subconscious structure within us. Images are layered, layered and complicated as each of us are in turn.
- Website: http://nicolefournier.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoledorisfournier
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleFournierART