We were lucky to catch up with Nicole Durham recently and have shared our conversation below.
Nicole, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
I’ve started down this journey of Hip Hop culture creatives. It wasn’t intentional; it just kind of came about organically. I wanted to capture why I fell in love with Hip Hop and what the movement, the songs, and the culture meant to me. With each piece, I would submerge myself in the music, the time, the words, the life of the artist, and the music videos, and each time they would take me back to a specific moment in my life when I first heard a song or the 100 time I heard that same song. Back then, it was rewind and replay or we’d record the same song on a tape multiple times so we could listen to it back-to-back! The nostalgia as I created each piece was so surreal and the next thing I knew, I was on a mission to capture these feelings and why I fell in love with Hip Hop.
This collection includes a combination of black and white abstract caulk pieces and collage pieces forever preserving my love for what I would call the greatest time in African American music history. Hip Hop literally has merged multiple cultures because EVERYBODY could love and did fall in love with Hip Hop.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I was born in Beidigheim, Germany in 1975, daughter to a German mother and African America military father. Our blended family moved to El Paso, Texas at the age of 8 in 1983 where I became a US citizen and a “big sister” with the addition of my amazing brother and sister.
I started my love for art back when I was a little person, creating entire cities and streets out of old cereal boxes and chalk on the hot sidewalk streets in El Paso, Texas. Now I live in Houston, Texas and after raising two amazing young humans, I found myself with waaaaaaaaay too much free time on my hands again! I have literally dedicated my life to my career, being a mom, and being a wife. Honestly, where would I have found time for much more is still a mystery. I tried all sorts of trending mom things at the time and Mom blogging wasn’t for me. I quickly learned I was not cut for the influencer vibes that were appearing everywhere. I can’t do 24 hours of happiness! LOL…But drinking a great Pinot Noir and enjoying a charcuterie board was truly my favorite pass time for a very long time. Life has a funny way of directing us back to what we love; to what calls us. One night while sipping, I found an old portfolio with my art from high school. The reminisce was real and then I found an unfinished piece; one that reminded me of a seriously painful moment in my life; followed by another piece that reminded me of a time when I was angry; and then a blank canvas and just like that, I forgot the pain, the anger, the boredom, and even the wine. I started creating again and forgot about time.
The process of re-finding myself again was frustrating at first. I wasted a lot of good art supplies but slowly it all kinda came back. I’ve never felt more alive and had such immense self-worth than I do when I’m creating. I genuinely feel like I leave a little piece of me, my contagious spirit, my bubbly personality, or my passionate soul in each piece I create; and I know I’ve done an a’right job when the pieces are hard to say goodbye to.
In addition to producing new art, I love taking old, tossed-out, forgotten pieces, and refashioning them into something fresh, beautiful, edgy, and inspiring again. These refurbished pieces remind me of myself the most. No matter how long it’s been, there is always a little more life in all of us. There is still passion, and strength, and vigor; you don’t have to drop these things just because you were, are, or want to be a mom, a wife, a boss.
I enjoy the raw creation that comes from using an uncommon resource like caulk; it’s malleable, it’s formable, it’s forgiving yet delicate and very similar to sculpting; combining my love for shaping, creating, and natural instincts to encourage.
In short, I just love to create and hope a few pieces might grace a few walls.
Is there a mission driving your creative journey?
A lot of the drive behind this collection is truly about sharing a moment in time. That sense of energy, excitement, and adrenaline when you first hear a song that you know you’re going to love forever. I wanted to capture the essence of Lauryn Hill and how she confirmed my youthful feelings of love and passion when I created “It Could All Be So Simple”. I listened to so many songs from DMX and genuinely felt emotionally drained and sincere melancholy as I created the collage “I’m slippin’ I’m fallin’ I can’t get up”. With each piece I feel connected even more to the musician than I did before, “It Was All A Dream” was energetic and Biggie’s nonchalant spirit was felt and “All Eyez On Me” had me captivated, blushing even, as I reignited my crush on Tupac’s charisma and my desire for his mind. Stankonia brought Outkast sultry sexual vibes and then I jumped to a modern-day mood with a Tyler the Creator and went rogue with colors. The Wutang pieces put it all into perspective for me and the connection between art and hip hop. THAT was the drive; To tell those stories.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
You know, we talk about the power of art and music and how they can change a mood or create emotions. I think everyone has a song (or 10 songs) that takes them back to a specific moment in their life. Hopefully, most of those moments are happy but realistically some are hard and require reflection. That was Hip Hop for me. I had moments of utter happiness but there were also moments of worry, fear, anger, and anxiety, and Hip Hop truly helped me push through. I sang songs in rush hour traffic, off-key, with tears streaming down my face and my speakers on full blast and I genuinely felt better after. If singing and crying in public, and living to create about it isn’t resilience, I don’t know what is. LOL.
- Website: www.thecaulkartist.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecaulkartist
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecaulkartist
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicoledurham/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=thecaulkartist
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy6I-r_NxOE7lC636g3M3uw?sub_confirmation=1