Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Miazgowicz.
Hi Nicole, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a freelance artist and illustrator. I primarily work traditionally in mixed media – graphite, pastel, conte, and gouache are some of my favorite materials. Right now, I’m really into exploring poster work – especially for theater. One of my favorite things to do is dissect an existing text and figure out the juxtaposing themes that exist within it. Using that information to create a final image that speaks to the piece as a whole is really fun for me – and I love figuring out a new angle to something fairly traditional, like a classic play.
How did you get to where you are today?
It has been a long winding road to land where I am today. I’ve always been obsessed with storytelling and crafting a narrative – I grew up in a rural area without TV (though we did have a VCR, so we watched many movies!) for most of my formative years, so I filled my time with reading, drawing, and play-acting. That time really strengthened how I used my imagination and exposed me to so many different ways one could share their creativity – I fell in love with all of it. In middle and high school, I started performing in community theater and went into college as a theater performance major. I had always drawn as a hobby, so I added on an art minor but fully intended on pursuing theater as my main career. I did that for a couple of years but quickly found the concept of trying to make theater a ‘job’ really disheartening. I discovered that for whatever reason, even though making a living as a freelance artist can be very similar to that of an actor, thinking of visual art as a career didn’t give me those same feelings. Because I spent so much time drawing on the side, it felt like the next natural avenue for my main source of creativity. Then… I spent about 10 years figuring out what exactly I wanted to do with my art. I created logos for friends, worked as a business manager for a stationery company, took on art commissions, and had a fashion/product illustration blog. In 2018 I started my own product line, Lost Fern Goods, and started selling at art/craft shows. That was a big turning point for me in taking ownership over my work and craft a living from it. Then the pandemic hit and all of those shows went away, so I had to switch gears again. Freelance illustration has always interested me so I took the opportunity to complete a mentorship-based illustration program (Visual Arts Passage) during the majority of quarantine. I focused on building my skills, honed in on the direction I wanted to pursue and learned a lot about the business of illustration. That led me directly to the work I’m doing today with clients!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Probably the biggest struggle for me was up until 2020, I didn’t really have any formal training and was mainly self-taught. Sometimes that can be a good thing and in many ways, it was for me, but it also meant I didn’t have a network of artist friends/peers or a lot of the language and skills one might gain from a traditional art education. It’s something I always felt insecure about and I often felt really behind as an ‘older’ artist in certain areas because of that. Taking an illustration program over quarantine gave me a lot more confidence – I gained a wonderful network of peers and mentors and got a crash course in the fundamentals of composing an illustration.
What makes you happy?
I’m probably happiest when I’m present enough to be noticing tiny things or details that are often missed. Two insects interacting, a nest in a tree, a funny gesture, cool architectural elements at on the top of a building… those things give me the biggest moments of pure and simple joy.
©Nicole Miazgowicz LLC