We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Nicole Houff a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Nicole thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. When did you first know you wanted to pursue a creative/artistic path professionally?
I have a BA from Macalester College with a major in Studio Art and a minor in Political Science. After college I got a job as a black and white photo printer at a local lab. I did that for just under a decade, but as the photo industry started shifting to digital at an exponential rate, I knew my days were numbered. I returned to school and received my Associate Degree from Minneapolis Community and Technical College in Photography and Digital Imaging. After receiving my Associate Degree, I worked at a professional commercial photo studio and had a side job photographing events for a local magazine.
When both of those industries took a turn, leaving me without work, I decided to focus solely on my art photography and my own business. Now I sell my artwork online, at art fairs and at galleries. I wanted to be an artist, even as a small child, but it took the deterioration of the local commercial photo industry to really propel me into art as a career.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
My artwork is incredibly “process” driven. Once I have a scene conceptualized, I go on the hunt for all the components that need to go into the image. I’ll just say that eBay and Etsy are my best friends when it comes to this part.
I set up the diorama with the dolls, props and backgrounds and design studio lighting around it. I take an incredibly technical approach to my work; each shoot is a multi hour event consisting of fine tuning lighting and great attention to detail. Subsequently, hours of retouching are required to remove dust, hairs, doll stands, plastic imperfections, etc.
What brings me the most pride is that my photographic series (that’s literally based on a toy) has been shown at a variety of galleries, festivals and exhibits. I’ve even been asked to do artist talks by local galleries and schools.
Are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
I really wish I grasped the scope of the larger creative community earlier. It truly is a community: It’s vast and even more helpful and accepting than I could have ever imagined. There’s always someone that has an answer to a business/art/creative question or concern, you just need to ask.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on NFTs. (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice)
Now, I can honestly say I don’t “get” NFTs. BUT, I also know that as our world changes, we as creatives need to change with it. At a minimum, even though I don’t currently create NFTs, I’m going to support and try to understand them. At art fairs this summer alone, I had a surprising amount of guests asking me about them. I feel like they could really open up art accessibility to a much wider audience.
- Website: https://www.nicolehouff.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolehouff/
Head Shot by Anna Rajdl All other photos are mine