Nikki DeOliviera is an unabashedly devout Christian who moved to the Edmonton region from Louisiana five years ago.
I’m grateful to her for filling in after another artist was unable to make their scheduled interview. Although, truth be told, with three kids and six animals, I’m not sure how she found the time.
Nonetheless, I’m glad I had the chance to chat with her. And I hope you learn a few things about her and check out her fabulously colourful art as a result.
[Featured Artwork: “Bayou Ombre – Teal Waters” by Nikki DeOliviera.]
The following responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.
01. Rock, paper, or scissors?
Paper. But only if it’s in book format. I’m a big book person.
02. What are three interesting facts about you?
A. I’m a Christian and a pastor’s wife.
B. My dad would roll over in his grave if he hears this, but I burp like a man. Because it made him so ashamed I did it even more when I was growing up. *laughs* He passed away last year so I can laugh about that now, but it always brings up my dad’s memory — in a good way.
C. I don’t have a single bit of black in my closet because, to me, black isn’t a colour.
03. What is the main medium you use in your art?
Acrylic on canvas, but I love to explore textures and other kinds of mediums to mix in. It’s always an evolving thing. I hate oils, but, who knows, in 5 years it might be something I look at.
04. What inspires your art?
That’s the toughest question you’ve asked me. First and foremost, I give all the glory to God in everything I do. That’s me. I have no bones about that. I feel like I was given a gift and it’s something that, if I’m going to do it, then I should definitely give glory to Him in what I do.
I grew up sitting beside my mom whenever she was painting. We would go out to her shop and I would just piddle on anything that she had. I always thought she was great and nowadays, she says, “Oh Nikki, your art’s great.” And I always say, “But I learned it from you. You have to understand, I got that gift from you.” It kind of cracks me up seeing how the tables have turned a bit. But, to me, she was always a big inspiration.
I have to at least say it while I’m talking: My brother is a comic book artist — and he’ll probably laugh at me for telling you this during my interview — he’s incredibly talented. He’s one of the best. That’s such a specific art form in itself. I find inspiration everywhere, but a lot through my family.
05. Are you more productive at night or in the morning?
Night. I’m a night owl. And with coffee.
06. Is your art your career or a hobby? Something else?
Something else. Before it was more of a therapy. I had severe postpartum depression with my first child. I had never painted on a canvas until then. Even though I was creative in other ways, I picked up a paint scraper, a paintbrush, and a canvas. It — and the medicine — helped me get through it.
I never had the confidence in myself to say my art was good. I never wanted to put myself out there. To me, an artist was a full-time artist or someone who had gone to university for it. It was very difficult for me to believe in myself in that manner.
I’m fast forwarding 14 years here, but you’re older, you’re wiser and you finally realize life’s too short to mess around. I’m finally able to say, “You know what? My stuff’s not so-and-so’s but it’s mine and it’s good. And I love it and other people are going to love it too.” I’m in the process of trying to get out there.
07. What is the most unique thing about the city you live in? (Sherwood Park, AB)
I’m still learning it. We just moved here last year. I’m still learning about this city. That’s a really great question.
08. What kind of training do you have?
I grew up sitting beside my mom while she painted woodcrafts. My dad would always carve, whittle, and draw. I feel like I grew up in a very creative family; learning bits and pieces from them is what really inspired me to use what God gave me.
09. What is your favorite drink?
10. What is your go-to band or singer?
I paint to Britney Spears. I’m from the area that she is from so I have remained a big Britney Spears fan. My kids know if Britney’s on, mom’s painting, leave her alone. Otherwise, I like a lot of genres and a lot of different artists. Metric is one of my favourites lately.
11. Where did your passion for art start?
Beside my momma.
12. The art is one thing, but what’s your secret to generating interest and ultimately selling your art?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I want it to be a business. I think a big part is just putting myself out there and just being vulnerable, which is also very difficult. You’re selling yourself and it feels like you’re selling a part of your soul whenever you put yourself out there. Not 100 per cent of people are going to like your stuff but it’s not for 100 per cent of people. If it finds that one person it touches, that’s my goal.
13. What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t got around to?
Actually, I started it today. Playing with sand in my art. I literally started it 20 minutes before this interview.
14. What would be the most annoying thing about having yourself as a roommate?
You should honestly ask my husband.
I don’t know where to start when it comes to cleaning. I will get a mop and then I’ll find something on the table that needs to be done. I’ll end up making a bigger mess than I started with. The house is never clean.
15. What app do you use most often?
Instagram and Spotify.
16. What is one common misconception about being an artist?
That if another artist can do it, so can you. I find that every artist is so unique. They all have their own gifts, so you can’t expect one to be able to do the same as another.
17. What do you hope people get out of your art?