Off the Record // Brushstroke Of Genius

Off the Record // Brushstroke Of Genius

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Not many of us have the gift of stretching our memory back to infancy let alone having that recollection be the profound moment of what you were called to be, do and create in this life, but Erica Nichols can and she’s been being, doing and creating ever since. But her incredible long-term memory is not what makes her so gifted. Rather, her illustrated prints and surface pattern designs are derived from the far reaches of her evocative imagination and decades-long daydreams that have no borders or boundaries, allowing every brushstroke to tell a colorful and textured story. 

SIGN Sagittarius

COFFEE OR TEA Coffee and Green Tea

NEVER WITHOUT My ipad (and family, ha!)

RED-ORANGE is the new Red

SIGNATURE COCKTAIL Amaretto Sour

RECENT SPLURGE Some custom artwork by one of my favorite illustrators – Nina Cosford

SONG YOU WISH YOU WROTE THE LYRICS TO Paul Simon’s America

IF YOU WERE A FASHION ACCESSORY WHAT WOULD YOU BE An art deco ring

IF YOU WERE A PIECE OF FURNITURE WHAT WOULD YOU BE A vintage tulip chair

EVERY HOME NEEDS Music and laughter

CREATIVE MUSE Goldie Hawn

FAVORITE MUSEUM The Louvre

LAST TRIP YOU WERE ON A visit to my Aunt and Uncle’s cottage

TRIP YOU’RE ITCHING TO TAKE Anywhere outside of Ontario at this point 🙂

LAST BOOK YOU READ Currently reading Beata Heuman’s Every Room Should Sing

RESTAURANT YOU’RE MISSING Ottawa’s Elmdale Oyster House & Tavern

HOTEL YOU’RE DREAMING OF Ilse Crawford’s Ett Hem

DESIGN IS functional, transportive, a way of life

ILLUSTRATIONS WILL ALWAYS Brighten your day in one way or another

ART CAN Relax and energize the mind and body

IF YOU WERE Coral or Seafoam Green

I’M A FIRM BELIEVER Laughter is the best medicine

I’M DEEPLY GRATFUL FOR My family and friends

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE Open minds

I’M IN THE PURSUIT OF Currently, sleep! My husband and I have two young kids at home

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“In Swedish you say 'Besjala’ to put soul into a place. In Danish you talk about a place like it is an embrace."

—Ilse Crawford

Can you give us a little background on how you got involved in illustration?

I’ve always been interested in art and design. One of my first memories is standing in my crib studying the shade of yellow paint and artwork my mom chose for my nursery. I’m a self-taught artist and interior decorator, deeply passionate about aesthetics and world-building. I’ve studied every book, magazine, blog, Youtube, Skillshare or Masterclass I could get my hands on related to interior design and art. I started seriously pursuing illustration in 2015. Around this time I realized my decorating budget couldn’t keep up with my imagination and what I enjoyed most about decorating was sketching my vision beforehand. 

Talk to us about your creative process.

I feel one must combine elements from the past, the future and the living to enjoy stunning success in art and design. I’m inspired by what I call retro, deco, boho influences—old Hollywood movies, midcentury modular furniture, ornate line and scrollwork, nature, the sea and anything not of this world. I hand-draw each piece, playing with line, form and space to strike a chord somewhere between pretty and peculiar. I add colorful painterly textures in a warm nostalgic palette. 

Who is your favorite artist and why?

So hard to pick one! Right now, I’ll say Saul Steinberg for his playfulness and elegance. 

What is your personal favorite illustration you created? 

This changes, but right now, anything having to do with flowers. I’ve illustrated flowers a million different ways it seems, and in many different contexts, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. So nice to have finally developed my skills enough to create some semblance of what’s in my imagination. I believe we’re lifetime students, so I know there’s always yet another skill waiting to be nurtured and developed. 

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