Nikki Solemsaas is a Seattle-based artist, photographer, and UX designer.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Solemsaas: I used to paint and draw when I was a kid, but never pursued anything serious. I have been officially painting now for a little over a year. I create bold large format acrylic paintings.
Can you tell us about your artistic approach and how the different stages fit into it?
My artistic approach is quite simple. I think of an idea and draw it on paper, or most of the time, directly on the canvas. This is the part that always looks the roughest because I’m constantly erasing and changing aspects of the image. Once I put my ideas where I like them I will outline everything in black posca marker and then start painting in my colors. Throughout this process, I constantly make “mistakes”. I will change my mind about colors/ideas/everything. It’s not unusual for me to completely coat a canvas and start over. I know when a painting works and when it doesn’t. But I love “mistakes” because half the time it’s because I will have thought of something else that I like more. Because of all of this, however, I would probably never be able to film a time-lapse of my process because it’s never linear, and it would most likely drive people crazy to see me start over and constantly change things.
Tell us where your inspiration for your art comes from.
Most of my art is inspired by Seattle and the PNW. I grew up living in Lake Stevens, WA and have lived in Seattle for just over a decade. I am very proud to have grown up in such a beautiful place. That said, I can and do find inspiration in almost everything, though. I’m excited to branch out a bit in themes this year.
Do you have a specific “rhythm” that you prefer – nature, food, profiles, etc. ?
My specific “beat” for myself is color. Although my personal style is very understated, I like to use color in everything I create. Bright, fun colors evoke emotions, and most of that, I hope, is joy.
Do you have a work of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
My favorite and most sentimental piece I have created is a large 4×6 foot painting I did as a tribute to my late father. While in the midst of his battle with cancer, he had an entire lung removed due to a large tumor embedded in it. He only had one lung left, but he made the hike to the top of Mount Pilchuck lookout anyway. Considering many of us with two lungs struggled tremendously with this hike, it was pretty impressive for a guy with half the breathing capacity. This is why he will always be the GOAT and why I created this painting.
What experiences in your life have influenced your art the most?
I like to travel and get inspired by other artists. I also work as an art director/designer in my day to day life, so I’m always creative and writing ideas for future pieces.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
You can find me on Instagram @paintinsidethelines or on my Etsy shop.
What’s next for you? Something you’re working on right now that you’re really passionate about?
I’m working on an exclusive set of snowboard designs for a major snowboard company, and I have an upcoming commission to paint a mural in a downtown office building. Apart from that, I am starting the beginning of my second collection for my next gallery exhibition. I’m really excited for a lot more opportunities this year, but I also want to note that I’m still very excited about a recent accomplishment. I won a national contest with SunChips and Bobby Berk, and one of my paintings is currently featured on billboards and murals in Nashville, Dallas, Austin, and New York. You can check out more photos of these on my Instagram.
Finally, how do you drink your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
I am very simple! I love a good cold brew or a French vanilla latte!
About ‘Artist of the Week’: Seattle may be known for its niche cafes and scenic waterways, but locals know it’s also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is full of artists that we love to feature every week on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at [email protected] And if you’re wondering what constitutes art, that’s the beauty of it; It’s yours! Find all our former Artists of the week in our dedicated section.