Nov. 23, 2021

Be unapologetically yourself. Nicholas Holman's story on becoming a successful artist by being his true self.


Artist Nick Holman chats with Melissa Bright about what it means to be unapologetically yourself. He shares his advice on what people should do if they are doubting themselves and their dreams. He gets personal about what self sabotage can look like for a successful person and steps to avoid it. He touches on the importance of work/ life balance.

Although artistic blood runs through his veins, Nicholas, a third-generation artist born in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri, did not discover his love of artistic inspiration and creation until 2015. Since then, he can be found wandering the urban and rural landscape, paintbrush in hand.

Nicholas appreciates the characteristics of a variety of artistic mediums and, therefore, does not restrict himself to one. Typically, he expresses himself through gouache, pastels, charcoal, oils, and digital although he has also been known to dapple in photography and to use his own body as a canvas.

Nicholas' drive to create echoes as a visceral compulsion.  Fortunately, he has orchestrated his life in a way that he surrounds himself with habits of artistic exploration, offering a multitude of subjects to satiate his creative appetite. Nicholas sees inspiration as not a dream to be waited and wished upon, but as a muse of opportunity born of the willingness to seek out and appreciate the beauty in his surroundings.

Professionally, in the near future, Nicholas will enter his paintings into competitions and seek gallery representation. Eventually, he sees himself opening his own studio to host classes and to inspire younger artists' aspirations whether artistic or mundane.  On the personal side, Nicholas yearns to travel the world while painting en plein air the whole way around. While he waits on his opportunity for global adventure, he will continue creating big, home-cooked meals for friends and family and appreciating the adventures that await.
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Transcript

Nicholas:

If I want to wear it, if I want to do it, if I want to be it, I want to say it, I just do. I am unapologetically myself. And I think that's all you can be. And I hope that everyone can get to that point where that's what they genuinely can feel and say,

Melissa Bright:

welcome to The Bright Side of Life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life. Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host, Melissa bright. And just a quick reminder, before we get started to be sure to hit the subscribe or follow button if you haven't already. And if you'd like to support the podcast, you can do so at the bright side of life podcast.com/donate, I am an independent podcaster and do all of this on my own. And I spend a lot of time and creativity and resources and trying to create valuable content for you. So if you'd like to show your support, it would be greatly appreciated in this week. I am so so so excited. Because I am interviewing a personal friend of mine. His name is Nicholas Holman. And he is an extremely, extremely talented artist. And what's crazy is he started pursuing art the year that him and I met which was in 2015 When I worked at a restaurant together in St. Louis, and I just lost my train of thought, oh, and when I saw his work in 2015, and he said that he was self taught. I was absolutely blown away. Now here we are six years later, and Nick is absolutely killing it in the art world. I won't spoil it yet, but Nick's work has been noticed by some people that you have probably heard of. So why did I have Nick on my podcast? Nick is someone that I have watched from afar on social social media go after his dreams, and he hasn't stopped. But I also know that the journey has probably not been easy. And there's been some hard times along the way. And I want him to share his story of not getting giving up and how he has stepped into Nicholas Holman the artist. So without further ado, Nick, welcome to The Bright Side of Life. How are you doing this morning?

Nicholas:

Hi, I'm doing so well. Can't complain. I've got my cappuccino. So you know life is good.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, I love it. I love it. And so I'm just going to point this out right now I have a little bit of a cold so I sound a little bit different. So we might have you know, some sneezes and sniffles and coughs along the way. But we're in that

Nicholas:

time of year. Yeah, exactly.

Melissa Bright:

Okay, we're virtual. So

Nicholas:

it's just like you can be so germy and it doesn't matter. It doesn't

Melissa Bright:

matter. Exactly. So when you sent me your bio yesterday, and I did not even realize this, but you are a third generation artist from your family. And when I met you in 2015, I know you are just starting to get into it. So can you tell me about how you finally decided to pursue art? Or was it just that art pursued? You tell me that story?

Nicholas:

Yeah, it's not the ladder. You, you, you would have thought that I had more of an artistic childhood. And I think my mom would, it's loves to argue on this point. I don't remember it being that artistic. My mom's a painter. I remember watching her paints. And she used to paint these really beautiful like Victorian buildings and just like just really, really pretty. And then my grandma, she's a painter, and a sculptor and all this stuff. And she retired as an art teacher. Okay, and then my grandpa, he was a woodworker. So I would he taught me how to like use a lathe and make pins and bowls and all this kind of stuff. I did that I did the woodworking more than I did like any painting and stuff. So, so yeah, so there was art, but it wasn't like that much. Finding art, for me, was total self discovery. It's actually weird how it started. And in hindsight, I'm so glad I didn't go through with this. But I got this random, you know, hair up my ass that I was like, I'm gonna draw my own tattoo. And I when I one thing I guess anyone should know about me is that when I have an idea, there's pretty much no one that's going to talk me out of it. And I'm gonna go through with it. And I'm just like, gonna see what happens. I don't really like question myself very often. And as we go into this conversation, I think that's just the huge part of my success like I no doubt myself, almost ever. Anyway, so that like started my act of drawing. So I started drawing flowers and really enjoyed it. I was like, Oh, this is this is fun and like, you know, I'm not like horrible. They weren't great. Like, I'm not I don't have that tattooed on my body. But then I picked up watercolors, and it just is just so wonderful. And I loved it. And I had some ideas. And I just like, literally since that moment, I haven't stopped. But like in that little timeframe, I just was water coloring everything. And it's weird because even though they were bad, I was already trying to sell them. Like, already my business mind was there. And I think that's one thing most artists don't have is I have just as much of a business brain as I do. Artistic and creativity. And I think most artists are just like, but how do you sell? It's like, well, you have to, you have to tell people what you do. You know, like first and foremost. Yeah. Okay, so then yeah, so then I just was doing watercolors. And then one time I tried this combination, it's called, like ink and wash where it's like you watercolor and then you ink over it with like really fine lines. Okay. And that moment was like an epiphany for me. I was like, this is this is why I'm here. This is it literally was the definition of an epiphany. Like, this was my purpose. And at that point, I was living in Florida. And I was like, I have to, I have to study this, like, what do I do? How do I What do I do? And I found an art school in our way. I did no further research besides that. It was a private art school. I don't know why I thought I could do that. But again, I don't doubt anything. So I had to get my portfolio together, which was weird, right? Like I've never drawn from life. I like drew my foot. And I've never done that before. And then I got accepted. And I learned so much. I'm sorry. I'm like going a lot further than you asked me.

Melissa Bright:

But it's okay. No, it is totally okay,

Nicholas:

we have a podcast and I'm not gonna shut up.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, well, we land in Florida. So we're good there. Okay, so we are going to back up a little bit to the school. So my boyfriend actually wanted to ask you this question. And it was really good question, because I didn't think of it. Um, do you feel? Let me find the question in front of my face? Yeah. Do you think that to be an artist, it takes a certain amount of natural ability? Or can it be all learned or taught? self taught?

Nicholas:

Okay, I think there are two sides to that coin, right. I do firmly believe that art can be a learned skill, right. So if I told you to draw a cube, your first one's not going to be great. But then I tell you to draw a cube every day for 30 days. And you get a little bit more instruction on each cue, like by the end of that, you're gonna know how to draw that you're going to know how to render, you're going to understand shading just a little bit. So like in that regard, it is a learned skill, I firmly believe that I think there is a there can be a system to it, like I know, some painters, and they approach like their portraits in the same way in the same fashion. This is how they mix colors. And it's mathematical. Right? I don't think like that. I think that's where like the artistic like, innate part comes in, like, I have the knowledge, you know, that's really helpful. But then I also am just a creative, artistic person. So I think you can be one of either the main thing on either side of that spectrum is just like the level of obsession, right? Like, this is all I do. This is all I think about this is my escape. This is my therapy. This is like, everything. I'm thinking about it all the time. So like, that puts me into a different realm than people are like, oh, yeah, like, I'm artistic. But, and it's like, no, but like, this is literally my life.

Melissa Bright:

You know, right. Yeah. And that makes that makes such great sense. Because when I was I used to write poems all the time, and I thought about going to school, or taking classes, I guess for like poetry or something. And I felt like the second that I was told that it was going to be my homework and I had to write about a certain subject in a certain way, a certain type of poem like, I was No, yeah, I was no interested because just much like you, you're artists, like, I don't want to take my creative mind out of there. So even if it's not the correct way, the mathematical equation to paint this, I don't care. Isn't that what like makes it feel? Awesome.

Nicholas:

I actually, it's funny that you bring up like that scenario, I had someone, I get a lot of messages, right. Like, I think I'm very approachable on social media, which I like, like, I want to be that person. If you have questions, I don't respond to all of them. But I had this one girl, she was asking me like, I want to get better, and want to learn more, I want to do more. But I'm scared that the education is going to take like the art from me. And I thought that was so interesting to like, be so consciously aware of that. And then like, ask me about that? And my answer to that is, yes, that can happen, right? But being more skilled, only gives you more freedom to put these ideas that you have on paper. So like, but you have to be conscious of like not losing it, right? Like, yeah, but like, if you are a better draftsman, these weird ideas that you have, because you're an artist, well, now you can actually get those down. But if you're just struggling, then you're just frustrated, because you can't get these ideas down. And like, that's not a fun place to be, like, you like your mind has the idea, but your hand can't create it. That's so frustrating. You know? Yeah. So I don't think I don't, I mean, writing is different, because like, there is way more of a formality to it. But like, I just don't think that knowing more like will take away from you.

Melissa Bright:

Right. And that's such a good point to kind of, like, turn it the other way. Like, well, let me change your thought process on this a little bit. Because then loaded up, you know, it actually could. Now there's principles, and it can actually take you further. So I love that you said that. Okay, so you're in Florida now. Did you have goals? Or did you have a goal in mind for your art at that time? Like, I want to be able to do art full time? Or what was it like for you? Or have you had just this one vision and you have just ran with it from from day one.

Nicholas:

So this is 2015. We're talking. I'm like 21, maybe 22. And I don't have a goal. I just knew at that point, it was all I did. I was painting so much. I was like, finding ideas. I would soak it up and then spit out my own version of it. And I was like, I guess I did have a goal because I had a gallery show, like at a coffee shop before even art school was a thing. So I don't know, I just was so driven. But I've never been like in goal driven. Like, obviously, yeah, I just want to be an artist. But back then was I thinking about that? No, because I was serving and I've always enjoyed serving, I was working at a beach bar. And then I was just because I was serving I had the freedom and the money to just dive into art more and more weird though, you would think that I would have been following like a bunch of tutorials and stuff because like YouTube has 1000s But I never did that. I don't know why. I think I've literally done like one or two back in the day. But I don't I just like I was just like painting. I was just like, doing things. Right. So yeah, I don't know, I was business driven a little bit, you know, because I already sold stuff in Missouri. Now I'm in Florida. So I think I had even more of an eye and I was getting better. But I wasn't like in goal. Like people when they go to school, they're like, this is the end goal, I think is just very different.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Did you? Did you feel that you had something where you like, I don't want to say from a cocky, cocky, cocky standpoint, but were you like, I'm pretty decent at this given? I didn't have that much education. Not that you have to have education to be an artist. That's not what I'm saying. But were you yourself impressed by what you could do?

Nicholas:

Um, yes and no, it's weird. I sometimes just it's honestly something I talk about in therapy. I'm so just in two things. And in the moment that I very rarely stop and like actually look at what I'm doing. So like, I wouldn't look. I don't know. I'm confident so I'm like, oh, yeah, like these look good. I was painting a bunch of like fruits and stuff and and then I was like painting with coffee. Because coffee is like watercolor and Don't think I was consciously saying to myself like, Oh, these are pretty good look at what you can do. But I knew that they were because I was like already trying to have markets and like, trying to sell and like being competent enough to share them on social media and stuff like that. But I don't think I was like, oh, okay, look at this. This is good. I know. I don't I don't have those very often. I had one recently where I was like, Well, I can't believe I painted that.

Melissa Bright:

So and that's just crazy. So for you guys that are listening and not driving at this point. If you guys can please just go look at his stuff on social media, or on his website. It's Nicholas Holman, right. art.com. Okay, so in

Nicholas:

Oh, no. So that's that my web website website is Nicholas M. Holman dot art.

Melissa Bright:

Okay, so you need to go look at his stuff because or like social media works, or social media works, too. But that's honestly my,

Nicholas:

my social media is way more up to date than my website. Okay, so just like Tic TOCs women are in all facets.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, tick tock, go there, which will we will talk about in a minute, but like, you guys have to see his artwork. He is ungodly, talented. And I'm not a person that has ever been huge into art. Like, I'm gonna not lie. But his stuff is amazing. And the way that he brings it to life and brings you on this journey, you just love it. So if you just want to kind of get an idea of what he is painting, and like, you know, without putting, so you can put a picture to like, what the hell we're talking about. Just go look at all this stuff. Now, while you're listening.

Nicholas:

That's what I do. When I meet new people. They're like, oh, somebody, it's like the American question. What do you do? Yeah. And I'm like, Well, I'm an artist, and they're like, Oh, well, like, what kind of art and I'm like, You know what, I just need to show you I'm not gonna describe how I put eggs on things, or how I paint naked people, or like how I paint Bernie Sanders? Like, you just need to see it, basically. Yes,

Melissa Bright:

I agree. So now that you guys have looked at that, now we kind of know where we where we are.

Nicholas:

Now we know we're dealing with here. Exactly. Exactly. Not a fraud.

Melissa Bright:

So you go from Florida, and then to Arizona for a brief time. Correct? Yeah, I'll be starting from Sofia.

Nicholas:

No, yeah. Because no one was unscathed from the pandemic, right. So I dropped out of art school after a year and a half, I guess that's like a big piece. It was too expensive. Really, that's just what it came down to. And I just couldn't justify what I was doing. I also had an hour commute each way. I was working full time. And I was also surrounded by 18 year olds who were going for free, who lived there and would still be late to class. So like, I learned a lot I was, this is what I say every time I talk about school, I was the driest sponge in the wettest environment. Like every word that these people said to me. I was just like, Oh, that makes so much sense. I like it's insane. It's like if you were like, I don't even know how to describe it. It just every word. They said to me made sense. And I still think about some of the things I like word for word what they said. I actually just taught a workshop and one of my professors saw it, and they loved No, no, it was just a tutorial online. And I used a phrase that he used in painting trees, like stop light green doesn't exist. And that is what he said to me so many years ago in school, and I still use that because like you think trees you think green and it's like no, but stoplight green isn't real. Like that's not a real color in nature. So anyway, school was huge dropped out. And then did you

Melissa Bright:

Sorry to interrupt Did you did you like regret leaving school? Now do you regret leaving school or you're like this? That was just part of my story. I'm grateful I had it but yeah,

Nicholas:

part of my story. Yeah. Because I think dropping out just put a bigger fire under my ass because now I was like, Okay, now I need to get better on my own. Now I need to really that's really when I dove into business. And I was like, Okay, how can I sell this? What do I need to do? How do I make prints what people what do people buy? What don't they buy? Where's my price point? You know, like I think dropping out was just like, Okay, so now I'm decent. Let's like try and start a business. So 2017 is when like Nicholas Holman are started so no dropping out part of my story. I even just spoke at that school they they like hired me to come speak there virtually. And as hard as it was not to talk about I talked about me dropping out a lot It was one of my teachers that I've become friends with Dr. keener and she's like, alright, Nick, we're gonna, we're gonna not talk about dropping out as often. And I was like, Yeah, I know. But like, it's a thing. And if you're feeling that, write it, you know, don't be terrified of like, Oh no, I'm not gonna get a degree and it's like, well, you don't need one. First of all, you know, no one looks at that piece of paper. And it's like, Ooh, you are a valid artist, you know, like, not in this realm.

Melissa Bright:

I did not ask you if you had a degree before I bought your artwork. Nor did I care.

Nicholas:

Right? Right. I do you have an associate's degree that I didn't learn nothing at. Sea. I dropped out, lived in Florida for a bit longer. And then I really was craving more. So I was looking into a TAS, which is when you're an apprentice to a master. So I started touring the country and I went to Pennsylvania, Seattle, and then I found one there's 67 in the country that are accredited by the what is it art Renard aarC, it's a renewal center. It's like the art law. I get this. Okay, put it but so you have to like be you have to go through a thing to like be declared like a master. It's weird.

Melissa Bright:

It's art lingo. It's fine.

Nicholas:

Yeah, yeah, it's fine. So I found one in Arizona, it was the most affordable I also kind of wanted to live there. So we moved to Arizona for this utility a, I was going to be an apprentice to a master. And then this little thing called COVID, showed up two weeks after moving 3500 miles with five animals, you know, good time. So I got to study all for all of like, one month, and then the school closed forever. Like not even temporarily, it closed forever. Because it's very small, right? Like, it's just him. And then a couple of apprentices, all the apprentices dropped out, right, because we're gonna make, so then he's like, I'm closing the school. Right. So my reason for being in Arizona was gone, even though we loved it. I loved it. I would say I liked it a lot. Yeah. And then at that point, I was like, alright, well, we're gonna go home, which home is St. Louis. So that's how I ended up coming back here. Which was very hard for me. I never wanted to come back home. And then almost simultaneous. I know that sounds so bad, but like, if you're from St. Louis, like, you know what I'm talking about. You just like, especially if you're gay, you just like want to get out? Yeah. And then I did. And then she said, you're gonna come on back home. And then it was weird. It was like, almost simultaneously. As coming back home, I had my first video go viral. And I just think that that was the universe saying, like, you don't have like, you can do this in Missouri. You don't have to be somewhere extravagant. You don't have to be somewhere big. It can happen in Missouri. And then it started happening. Like my career was already like, I was already an artist, like it was it was doing fine. But then like, that changed things. And like St. Louis got to know me. And yes, you know, a lot of things happened since then.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So what was your video that went viral? It was on tick tock, right.

Nicholas:

Yeah, it was on tick tock, and it was me painting the basilica in Central West End, which is so weird. I have no idea why that video went viral. Because it was just me doing exactly what I do. Doing a voiceover and I'm just like, sitting in the road painting. And But literally, so I lived in South County. It's a 20 minute drive. By the time I got home. It was at 25,000 views. And I texted my partner at the time. And I was like, I think this video is going viral. And then I woke up the next day, it was at a million views. And I had gained like 60,000 followers overnight. Holy like, right, and then the next day, it was like 1.5 Next day and it's like capped right around like 1.8 million. And so yeah, because of that I was in like three newspapers and like St. Louis got to know me and I had this Etsy sale. Oh my I've never in my life. received so many orders. It was in sane. It was insane.

Melissa Bright:

And okay, so this this painting is absolutely absolutely beautiful. You can see it I'm sure you can still buy it. Can you still buy it Nick? You can still buy it. Yeah, it was just an I am watching all this from afar because yes, Nick and I live in the same city but this man is ungodly busy. So I'm just

Nicholas:

watching all this time. Round really is hard. It is I also it's a little too spontaneous when I have time Now

Melissa Bright:

oh my gosh,

Unknown:

we've got to do this. A while, six months? Yeah, I

Melissa Bright:

feel like since you went viral on the basilica thing, and I'm like, we I need to talk to him now I need to have a conversation now.

Nicholas:

Yeah. Would you? Like the timing took a while because like, you've developed even more into this podcast and like, yep, this has become a thing. So instead of me being like, one of your first or second, like, now it's like, yeah, I don't know, just like has a name for itself, which

Melissa Bright:

is, I totally agree. I agree with that. And I now trust the timing. Like, I don't get stressed out by it. You know, I've had an it happened with somebody else. And it was such a beautiful conversation that I was so beyond grateful for. So I definitely trust that. But the basilica thing was incredible. Is this where you really, really started seeing success in your eyes, or

Nicholas:

no, because in Florida, before I left for Arizona, I was successful, I really was I was getting commissions, I was painting for businesses, I was doing murals, I was painting in elementary schools, like I really was successful, then this was just another level of success. This was more online, and more like, you can do this anywhere type of success. Florida was like, very much local, very much supportive. I did markets and I would kill it, like, and I ended up quitting serving in Florida. So like, I had already been doing just art, which, like, was still making more than enough, like, right before I left, I got my biggest commission ever, ever, ever, ever. And I don't normally talk about money. But this one painting was $3,500. And I'm like, I've never in my life, when I thought someone would hand me three grand for a painting. And not that it matters. If there are any artists listening to this. This does not make this painting less. Wait. This does not make this painting worth any less. But I painted that painting in one day. Because I'm a quick painter. And that is a part of my style is like how quickly I paint and how loose and impressionistic it is. So it's just like crazy that that happened. You know? Right? So no, I was very successful in Florida. This was just a different level. Because now I had an online presence. I had Tik Tok presence. I got to show my personality. People loved me and my art. And I could just do I don't know, it was just a sign that I can do this anywhere, basically.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. Okay, so I'm going to ask a blonde question, because I don't know a lot about art. conversation. Yeah, I'm not blonde. Well, I have been blonde. You've probably seen me blonde before, but I am.

Unknown:

Blonde. You are, you're

Melissa Bright:

half blind.

Nicholas:

We will go with that.

Melissa Bright:

I love it. What does commissioned art mean? Like, what is? What does that mean? Can you explain that for us non artists?

Nicholas:

Of course. Well, first, let me say I don't take on very many at this point. And I feel like people might, I just have to say that I don't take on very many. But a commissioned artwork is basically I'm a customer, I have an idea. I need something painted. I'm going to hire a painter to paint this for me. Okay, that's what it is. So this person wanted a painting of the vinoy Hotel, which was this really cool hotel in St. Petersburg. And they liked my work. They wanted this painting, they knew what they wanted, they are going to pay me to paint that. Okay, so at all like pet portraits, you want your dog painted. You're not a painter, you're gonna hire a painter to paint your dog.

Melissa Bright:

Okay, that makes sense. All the time. Yeah. Okay, I did not have that right. At all. Like I thought it literally. Well, I didn't know what it was. But I thought it was like you painted something. You make up the price, or they bid on it. And it's sold for $3,500 or something like that. Yeah,

Nicholas:

no, no, no, totally. It's like, I need something this size. I need something with some of these colors in it. I want this to be painted. And this is my budget or like, I tell them, This is my price range. Right? Oh, like, Oh, you want your house. I do a lot of house paintings. Like, you know, like, Oh, my first home or whatever. And so then that's a commission, right? They send me photos, I send them my price sheet and then like, it's just like a job. It's a paid job.

Melissa Bright:

Okay. That makes sense. That makes sense. My, my sinuses are getting to me, okay, so We talked about the you have never really struggled with self doubt in your work or your ability to become successful. Is there any part that you have struggled with in your art journey that you have had to overcome? And if so, what has that been? Or is it just been smooth sailing the whole?

Nicholas:

No, I don't want to make it seem like it's just been smooth sailing the whole time. Those questions are usually harder for me to answer though, because there's not many things that like actually, like, stop my journey, right? Like I hurdles to me are just like,

Melissa Bright:

thank you to better help for sponsoring this podcast. I started my therapy whenever I started this podcast. And so that's exactly why they became my sponsor, because they have helped me if you guys think you might need to see a therapist better help is amazing. They are online, you can do it from the comfort of your own home, you have the options to message them, you can do a phone call, you can do a video chat, whatever you feel comfortable with doing, they have several different types of therapists, if you need couples, or for marriage and family therapy, it's also available to individuals worldwide, better help is a monthly subscription. So you're not paying per session, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. So visit betterhelp.com/bright side of life, that's better help.com/bright side of life, join over 500,000 people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. And for your first month, you're going to receive 10% off by being a listener of the bright side of life. So let them know that I sent you by using the link better help.com forward slash Bright Side of Life, the link will also be in the description section of this episode.

Nicholas:

I don't know they don't they don't. They don't affect me that much. You know, so I'm gonna give you answer. I just have to think a little bit.

Melissa Bright:

Okay, well, while you think about it, let me let me add to this because I am so happy to hear that because I am guilty of having kind of this pessimistic. Brain. I guess this is how I was raised where my boyfriend is such like a problem solver. Let's look at the opportunity. And the problem. Let's look at the opportunity where I am usually so focused on the problem. And so for when you say like, Of course I've had hurdles, but that's not really how I look at. That's amazing. Like when you say that that's what I want to hear from you. Because I feel like that's how we all kind of need to be in that. That mindset of they were hurdles, but that's not how I approached them. So whatever answer you have, you're not going in the wrong way.

Nicholas:

Right, right. I know. And it's not a wrong answer. I so you're a pessimist wired as one. Maybe? I am wired as an optimist. I like almost anything that can be thrown at me. I don't know how I don't know why. But I see. I don't see it. Like at face value, right. Like I see everything else that it could be. I have pessimistic moments. Like, you know, like, a couple of weeks ago, I did a market and the insurance fee was like much larger than I normally pay. And it was a one night thing. And it started off really slow. And I was like, Oh, you already have the pressure of just trying to break even. Right. This was an area in St. Louis that I don't normally do markets in. And like my pessimistic mind took over because it's like money. You know, money is kind of a trigger. It's like, yeah, I paid so much. I have to like at least make that ended up going. Well, it ended up being fine. And that was a little lesson of like, don't freak out, you know, so I have I have pessimistic moments, but generally I am wired as an optimist and I think that's been a big a big helper for me. Okay, so struggles it's, I don't know, it's weird that this is so hard for me but I would just say it's, it's a struggle in my own, like personal life is just like, how serious I take things you know, and I'm currently it's my mantra right now is like, It's not that serious. I literally tell myself that all the time in any regard in like, in dating and like going out in like a market and like painting a video. Oh, like a new tutorial doesn't do that. Well, like it's not that serious. Like we're all just here trying to have fun and also live a life and find success. and find love. And it's just like, come on, it's not that serious. We're just, this is our one chance here, we just need to make the best of it. So my current mantra right now is, it's not that serious. And okay, so one thing that I do struggle with is being too serious, and like working harder than I probably should. Like, they say, do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. I think it's do what you love, and you will never work harder in your life. Because yes, it's, it's all I do. Right? So I think that is a struggle. And it's honestly, right now in this moment, what I'm working on is finding that balance of work life, and just like rest, because I do a lot of self sabotage where it's like, if I'm not working hard enough, I'm doing something wrong. If I'm not, if I'm not coming up with new ideas, if I'm not, I'm hard on myself in that regard of like, create, create, do do. This is all up to you, you have to do more, you're not doing enough. So like, that's a hurdle, because I also have to live, you know. So it's like, My Success is also like my workaholic. You know, not like great habits.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad that you said all of that, because I am such a perfectionist. And I'm really hard on myself also. Like, I'm constantly thinking of, who can I interview? Who do I want to talk to? How can I do my podcast better? How can I make the content more valuable for my listeners, like it's nonstop, always like, and I take it super serious also, because I want to make this my full time thing. And I eventually had to tell myself that I have to give myself weekends for breaks, like, because my brain, my brain cannot be that busy all the time. Because on the week, during the weekdays, it is just non stop, my brain will not shut off. And it gets exhausting. And so I don't myself, you get the weekends, Melissa, um, do you feel that it is I need,

Nicholas:

I do that I see. I don't get the weekends, because that's. But I need to do that I literally have therapy today. And this is what I'm going to unpack is like finding this balance, because I'm currently in the thick of burnout. And it's not a fun place for me to be. But you know, that's the holiday seasons for an entrepreneur really, is just work your ass off. I just like I moved into this new place, and I was filled with inspiration. But then I like, I nested so hard. And I just am so exhausted right now that I'm kind of in the thick of burnout. So that's something I'm trying to process and like finding inspiration again. Right. So I feel that I totally do.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So I guess the question for me, that I have is, is there a certain number? Let's say I don't even know how to ask I am trying to ask this in the most, I guess polite way. But is there a certain number, let's say Is it money that drives you? Like I have to have $5,000 in the bank before I can even slow down? Like, what makes you not slowed down? Or is it like I just have to create, create, create, I got to get this out of my brain not saying that you're all money driven. But what is it that makes you not want to slow down?

Nicholas:

I will be honest, money is a big part of it. I am money driven, like the business side of me. It really is heavy. I'm always thinking of new opportunities, new ideas, what is going to not always but I am thinking what's gonna sell what's not gonna sell? What's a new sale I can do? What's the new way I can do this artwork. What's the New Deal? What? So like, money is a big part of it, right? Like, this is all to me. I'm an entrepreneur, like they're, like right now in the holiday season. I can't stop because I know after Christmas, it's just not going to be the same for a few months. You know, like, now's the time. So I'm about to release this whole pet portrait thing. And yeah, I'm exhausted. But it's like, I have to this is where I'm at. This is what I have to do. Aside from that, when I'm inspired, I can't do anything else. But that so like, I had this really amazing night with someone under the arch and we were like laying directly under it. And it was it's really if you've never done that at night go directly under it is it just it's like this weird illusion and it looks like it really could be going into space when you're directly under it. Yeah And then we were walking around the city which like downtown, which I don't do that often. But there was not a single human in existence. It was literally as if me and this other person owned the city. And we were like talking about like magic doors and like with this open, would you go in? And we were both just like, yes. And I got the next day I got so inspired by that experience that I had this idea. I'm literally like grabbing paper and sketching out thumbnails. And it's like, it's like an itch that is so intense in my head, right? And then I just left went to a coffee shop and spent the whole day there and fleshed out this entire piece, because I could not do anything else until that came to life. And now Now that's one of my like, favorite illustrations. I absolutely love it. So that is another part of me not stopping is like, when I'm inspired, there is no stopping. It does not matter. Right? If I'm exhausted from what I have going on, this idea has to get out of me. You know, also, I genuinely enjoy creating content. You know, like I love making Tik Tok videos. I love doing makeup and showing it. I just did a photo shoot, I love showing that stuff. I also know people enjoy it, because of the feedback I get. And I love that I love the connectivity of it. I love educating people. I love inspiring people. I love to show people that they can do it, you know, like, Yeah, I'm a good painter, but like, you can do this too. And this is how we're going to go about it. And I get messages literally on the daily of people telling me that they started painting because of me. This woman messaged me and she's like, this is my first time on Tik Tok. I haven't painted in 20 years, but because of your videos, I'm starting. And it's like, that's, like big picture. That's what I'm doing. You know, not just trying to be an entrepreneur. No, I'm actually inspiring people. And this one girl. She's like a big fan of mine. She's local. She started drawing because of me. And she got into this like little juried exhibit and like, got to hang her art up. And she came to my market and she was like, oh my god, I can't believe I'm meeting you. You're so inspiring. And it's like, you know, that's why I'm here. Like, yeah, you know, fuck the money like this is this is bigger. I'm making an impact from like, my little apartment. I'm inspiring people. Yeah, that's, that's what it is. That's bigger than anything.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And that's what, from me not being an artist. You inspire me, like from watching your videos and seeing your drive. Like, I don't want to go paint shit. But I want to go do something and love life, because that's what Nick is doing. Like, can we please talk about because I didn't even have in my questions. But can we talk about your six week road journey that you talked about? All these? Yeah, amazing things? Well, first. Yeah.

Nicholas:

Right. First, let me say I think it is important to romanticize everything. Like I live in the new neighborhood. And I can walk to this cute little mailbox. And I think it's romantic. Like I think everything should be romanticized. And like if you check out my Tic Toc, that's fully what I do is romanticize everything. Yeah. Oh, yeah. So my road trip, okay. So, three years ago, I got the idea from another painter, where you sell a month of paintings blindly, okay, so, as a customer, you like my work, and you're that, okay, so the whole thing is, it's like a mystery grab bag, but for original art. So you're buying a painting, but you don't know what you're getting. But it is going to be painted in Plein Air, which means on location or from life. So three years ago, I did a set it was, it was a struggle to sell out, but I did it. So I had an entire month of paintings to do. They were all already purchased. And it was just picked from people who like me, like my work, and whatever they were going to get was going to be like a painting that they wanted. You know what? Well, three years later, I had the idea to take that idea on the road. So I'm like, Okay, let's do mystery grab bag, but let's go on a road trip, because then it's fully funded. And so I turned I literally got a new car for this. I needed one anyway, but you know, so I get myself a new rav4 and I worked with a friend from high school and we build like this bed unit and I can pull out kitchen so I turned my car into a camera. And I created a whole video on how I'm advertising this. And my biggest thing was that I just needed some time to paint I needed You know, like residencies are hugely important to artists and like, this was my version of a residency. So I called it road trip residency. Okay, I'm not gonna do anything except paint. Yeah. And so I planned out about six weeks, and I sold every day, I made every day for sale. So you could buy, say you wanted to buy June 1? Well, on June 1, as a customer, you're going to find out what you're getting where I'm at, you're going to get a tick tock video, an Instagram post, you're going to get a Polaroid of what I was looking at. longitude, latitude, a little bag of dirt from where I was standing, and of course, a painting. So it was a whole deal. You get to go on this road trip with me.

Melissa Bright:

Literally. Literally, literally. Yeah, that literally that with you, but on social media, okay, almost literally. I know. I was like, wait, they might be confused by that. Yeah.

Nicholas:

So I sold out in three hours. And I had 70 paintings to do just like that. So it was really cool. Because like, my dream has always been for my art to allow me to travel. And I like just did it. I was like, Yeah, because of my art. I am now going on this road trip, fully funded more than fully funded, because I didn't want to come home broke. And then I also reached out to a bunch of camping brands. And I got five to say yes. So I got sponsorship from camping gear. You know, I had everything I needed. So I embarked on this solo road trip, and just live my absolute best life.

Melissa Bright:

It was, oh my gosh, and every single day, there was a new video there was painting. It was amazing to watch. And I'm so pissed that I did not frickin buy that stuff. But I'm assuming at some point in your life, you'll do it again.

Nicholas:

Yeah, I'm planning something for this. Like 2022 I was gonna take the idea to Europe, because I like I know I could sell that too. But I don't think the world is normal enough yet to go to Europe for two months and just paint. Yeah. Because I don't want to go where a man like not that I'm anti mask. I just don't want I want to be normal. If I'm gonna go do a Europe tour. Yeah, because they wouldn't be like, I wanted to start in London and end up in southern Italy. And then come home, you know?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. What it was so awesome. It was it was so cool to just see all of that unfold in your journey and to see where you are and what you're painting and him sleeping in his car and like

Nicholas:

on a crop top. Yeah. Or

Melissa Bright:

how you one of the things it was so funny. Like, you're like, literally, I'm in a tank top. And it's like 3030 30 degrees. Yeah, it was like,

Nicholas:

it was insane. So I'm on this highway, like a ground level, I guess. And I'm like, Oh, I think that road goes to the top of a mountain. I'm literally I don't even have underwear on. I'm literally just in shorts and a tank top. Because it was like a breezy like, it was summer like, it was like 7580. And I get to the top of this mountain, which is like 12,000 feet, fully 30 degrees, a hurricane force winds. And I get out and I'm like, what is what is the how is this possible? And to get into my stuff, I had to open my entire gate. And I'm just like, everything is flying around. Like I'm not kidding, the wind was so insane. So I did an entire outfit change outside because I couldn't do it in my car. And it was just like, it was like it was traumatic. Honestly, it was intense.

Melissa Bright:

Well, I enjoyed watching it. Sorry for the trauma but no, yeah.

Nicholas:

And I in little moments like that, you know, I'm just like, I need to record this, like I need I want to bring people along and it's like shit show of a journey. Because I didn't plan anything. Like, I hit 8000 miles and I was like, Oh my God, I didn't know I was driving this far. Like, I still have to get home. So I ended up at 11,000 miles. I had no idea it was gonna go that far. I had no idea what gas prices were I had no idea. Like where I was sleeping. I literally, like if that sums up who I am as a person. Like, that's me.

Melissa Bright:

I love it. I love it. So you definitely seem to be a person that has truly found themselves and are living in your true light. If I'm safe to assume this, how, yeah, how has this all? How is this all came to be and what things have you done or not done to become your true self? And I asked this to inspire other people, for them to be their true selves. So I know I can just tell by the way we talk by you. I know you're genuine so that's what I want to know.

Nicholas:

Yeah, I'm actually super fake. Yeah.

Melissa Bright:

I can totally tell,

Nicholas:

this is all a facade. I'm gonna get off of this and like, really, I'm gonna count. Like, I'm just gonna do people's taxes. Actually taxes stress me out. That is not me. I'm not what I'm doing. Yeah, no, I'm okay. So it's been a journey, right? I am very much gay. And finding that part of myself was really hard. So like, go back to me being 15 is when I was like, figuring that out. And growing up in a religious household and growing up with like, not even the vocabulary of what I just like, I didn't even know gay as a word, like I didn't have. I just, you can't make sense of things without like, the vocab to, like, tell you what it is, like if you're anxious, but you had never been exposed to the word anxiety. You don't know what that is, like, if you're having a panic attack, and you don't know what those are, you think you're dying, right? Like, that's kind of like, realizing I was gay. I just like, I didn't know what was happening. And like, why, and like, I just knew it was wrong. And I hated it. And I did not accept it very well. Yeah. I ended up you know, accepting that. And, you know, kind of finding that moment, it's, you know, growing up, like in the Midwest and being gay, you're already fighting an uphill battle, I think that inherently makes you a stronger person. Because the odds are already against me, in a lot of ways. You know, I already stand out. And I'm also not one to fit in. So like gay or straight. I'm not even one to fit in. So write that just added to the pile. Like, I used to work at steak and chicken or on Missouri, and I literally could not count how many times I caught people taking photos of me, because I just stand out in our grocery. I mean, I had big hair. I had very large hair back in the day. It was like a huge pompadour. Like, yeah, I stand out. And I stand out even more now. So like, that was nothing, right? Yeah. So you just you already have an uphill battle, you know, and I just think that makes you so much stronger. And I just feel like walking through life has been like, like I had someone asked me recently, like, how did you find your style, like your aesthetic, like your clothing? Because I care a lot about, like fashion. And I like couldn't even answer that question. I was like, it is so authentically me that I couldn't even guide you in a place of like, how you find it? Like, I wear some weird shit. That doesn't make sense. But like, it's me. And it works, you know? And so yeah, I don't know, I, I just think also having family members that don't support me, and having that it's just that uphill battle that I inherently care less than less what people think of me as like life goes on. Like, I firmly believe life is too short to care what anyone thinks of me, because that doesn't matter. Literally other people's opinion of me is not my business. It isn't. It does not change anything, nor does it matter. And I just think as I've grown up and gotten older, I've just found that more and more. And then last year, I got into makeup. And that has been a really fun part of my self expression. And for anyone listening, like I'm not doing like beauty makeup, I'm doing like art on my face. That's just a way to describe it. It's just on my face. And so that's been a huge part of my self expression. And then I don't know, I just like, if I want to wear it, if I want to do it, if I want to be it, if I want to say it. I just do. And I am unapologetically myself. And I think that's all you can be. And I hope that everyone can get to that point where that's what they genuinely can feel and say.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, and it's just so amazing to to watch you and to see that because I see it on social media, I see your true self and it's so much fun to watch and it makes you like you see everybody that loves you and as inspired by you. And while you have already said yeah, there's probably people out there that don't accept me, but I'm not paying attention. Like that's not my business. I'm over here.

Nicholas:

Literally. Yeah, it's literally not my business. Like

Melissa Bright:

okay, good now you're awesome. That's awesome that

Nicholas:

you don't you know, you're not right. Basically that's what it comes down to.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, exactly. Nothing to do with you and everything to do with yes precisely, exactly. Okay. So we know I was gonna ask this question, but we know now in terms of your goals, have you ever written out a plan of what you want to do? No, he hasn't. Or have not.

Nicholas:

I mean, I've written like, maybe ambitions, like a five year like this is this would be cool. Or, like, do I follow that? Do I like make a plan? No. I just say I'm going to do something. And I do it. Like the other night, I discovered this gallery in Central West End, and I was with my best friend at no St. Louis had like, galleries to this, like level. It was really gorgeous. And I was just staring there, standing there in the window staring at it. And my best friend was with me. And I looked at her and I said, I'm going to be in here. I'm going to have a show in here. And then like, the next day, we were kind of talking about that moment. And she was like, Yeah, but see, the thing is, Nick, like when you were saying that, like, I'm going to be in it? In my mind. I don't even think about it. Because I'm already saying like, yeah, he will be like, he is going to be in there. So it's just like, I don't know, I I honestly, I don't even know where my train of thought was going. But it's okay. I thought that I had, I didn't

Melissa Bright:

know what we were talking about. We were talking about goals. It's okay. We were

Nicholas:

talking about goals. That's how I like manifest goals of like, yeah, do something. And I'm like, I'm going to do that. Yeah.

Melissa Bright:

That's how I am though. Sometimes like, because if it hasn't happened yet, if you haven't experienced it yet, how do you know what you want to do? Now you've seen that gallery in Central West End, you know, you want to be in there. Now. You couldn't have planned that four days ago, cuz you had never seen it yet. Right. Right. You know, I love that. I love that. Okay. Before we are done, I do have a couple more questions for you. But I cannot not ask you this question. Because you have to tell me your story. You have to tell us your story about Dan. It's levy right.

Nicholas:

I say Levy. I think it's Levy.

Melissa Bright:

Whatever. Dan Levy Levy. What's your story about Dan?

Nicholas:

Dan Levy, the man the myth, the legend. Otherwise known as David Rose.

Melissa Bright:

From shits Creek

Nicholas:

from shits Creek we love we love this man. Yes, yeah. So it's not so much as a connection to him. But the show itself I love that show. I love that show. I will say it again. shits Creek is like my everything. So I was in my fifth rewatch, as one does. And I decided that like, oh, you know what, I should probably paint this. And so I just painted the Rosebud motel, made a little video, you know, it didn't like go viral or anything. It wasn't anything special. And a little while after that I got reached out. Or I was approached by this person. I guess she was a publisher. And the email just like didn't say enough for me to like respond. So it took me a month to respond. Which is totally embarrassing in hindsight, honestly, because I could have missed this opportunity altogether. Right? And then I responded, I was like, oh my god, sorry. I'm Oh, it was like, it was literally as I was on the road trip. I was like, I remember I was messaging her how to spell my name. While on this road trip. I just remember that. Um, and I was like, yeah, sorry, life's crazy. Can you tell me a little bit more about what your what this is? And then she like word vomited what this was. And it was basically, they wanted my painting of the Rosebud motel to be in this coffee table book that Dan and Eugene Levy were creating. It's a six part book of basically behind the scenes of shits Creek, everything and anything shits Creek is in this book. And I was like, Oh, my God, yo, what do you need from me? Absolutely. Yes, like, say less, right? I need to be in this. And funny enough, the painting that they wanted was the only painting as of recent that I did not scan. And I had already sold. So I even have, I know. I scan everything because that's how I make my prints. I don't know why this didn't get scanned. But I had this huge studio sale because I was in a pinch. And I sold a ton of work, including that. And so I had to reach out to the owner of this painting. And I said, Hey, this painting is about to be in a book. I can't really talk about it. But I need your help. I need you to go get this painting scanned. And so she was honestly she was so excited. She was like oh my god in some way, shape or form. I get to be a part of this like Absolutely. So She went to like a bunch of stores ended up at like an art store and I got it scanned. And so finally I had high resolution images of this painting and submitted those, all that stuff. So like six months later, I get my book. And I knew I was getting a book. I knew it was going to be signed, yada, yada, yada. I knew nothing else but that. So in the book, Dan Levy not only signed it, he full on wrote me a no. Oh my God, to say I was crying is an understatement. So it's like Nicholas, this painting is so beautiful is my mom's favorite? How do I buy it? And then he signed it. And I'm on page 45. For anyone who's wondering, it's a two pager. I've just, I can't honestly I can't believe it. Now this book is a New York Times bestseller. So like, here, I am. Almost missing this opportunity. Because I'm just so proud that responding to emails. And now I'm in the New York Times bestseller in JAM levy wrote me a note. So unfortunately, I don't actually have contact with him. I don't have his address. I can't send him this painting. I haven't tagged Instagram, but I know. I know. Fingers crossed. Um, I have tagged him a few times on Instagram, and I he has looked at it like he has laid eyes on the post and the story. But he has like taken the initiative be like, Oh, I actually do want this like here's a peel box. So Right. So no, I one I don't own that painting. And to Dan Levy does not also own the painting. So I would love to repaint it for him one day. But we'll see.

Melissa Bright:

That is so freaking amazing. And then

Nicholas:

while that is so years ago, I was dropping out of art school and now I'm in a New York Times bestseller. See?

Melissa Bright:

See guys. Oh,

Nicholas:

I love it crazy. I

Melissa Bright:

love it. That's gonna be that's gonna be the the title of this episode. Okay. No, I we couldn't do this episode without mentioning that because I know that's one of your favorite moments thus far in life. So

Nicholas:

yeah, like career wise. That's like a big moment on afford to say I published in like New York Times bestseller. Also, like my favorite TV show that has ever existed. Yeah,

Melissa Bright:

exactly. That is so awesome. Okay, if you had to give advice to someone that is currently pursuing their dreams, but sometimes struggles to have faith that it'll all work out in the end? What would you say to them?

Nicholas:

Um, first, just let me say that I always believe that hard work pays off. I think if you are honest with yourself, like ask yourself those hard questions of like, Am I doing? Am I working my hardest? Am I doing my best? Am I really putting in what needs to be put in? Like if you can answer that, honestly. And that's where you're at? I firmly believe that good things happen. Right? I really do. I just think the world pays attention to those who are being authentic and working their hardest. I don't mean slave away, like act but you know, don't take that too, literally. But like, Are you doing your best? Because like that good things follow? I really believe that. I, I just I can't say enough. And I believe this firmly. But I just think anything is possible. I really do. You know, like, honestly, Lady Gaga was like an inspiration for me. She literally came from nowhere and nobody and is like, look at that. That is hard work. That is drive that is determination. You know, not that I met her level, but like, I came from nothing. I went to school for a year and a half, like, and now I'm in a book with Dan Levy, you know, like, right, I just firmly believe that anything is possible. Dreams are attainable, and that you only have one chance to do this. So it's like, why aren't you being unapologetically yourself and like going for this idea? You know, I heard this thing. I don't know where I heard it. But it's basically like, Don't save your good ideas for a better time. Like, now's the time to jump on that idea. Right? Like, oh, five years, I have this good idea. I'm gonna do this. Like, I'm so excited like, blah, blah, blah. No, like, your good idea is good right now. Do it. Like jump on that shit.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yeah. I love that. And it's something that the very first thing that you said was like, you have to get honest with yourself because that's where I was for a long time. I just thought that like God was going to show me the sign and then that's what I was supposed to be doing. It wasn't until I asked myself these questions of like, what what do you really enjoy doing in life? What is it that you're good at? What do you want to do? I had to really get honest with myself. And my, my answer was I enjoy having deep conversations with people. So how can I make that into a career. And now, every single day, I work my ass off to whatever it is find guests to make my podcast bigger to monetize my podcasts, like, all that stuff. And I was in my own way, but you have to take these little steps, but if you don't believe in yourself, and then you'll talk yourself out of it, got to have those hard conversations with yourself. Like you said, you don't have to be slaving away. But you have to make small consistent steps every day. To whatever it is that you want to do. Um,

Nicholas:

and my thing to like, like, don't self sabotage yourself, you know, like you are capable of doing it. Like, believe in yourself like, I I don't know, I just think I just made a tick tock just so you know. That's what I was doing. I love it. So little tick tock moment. Um, yeah, like, Don't sabotage yourself. Like, come on. You're number one hype girl. Don't be the opposite.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, and invest like, because I'm good at self sabotaging. But when I started doing like, I've said this so many times on my podcast, I do one thing a day, that scares the shit out of me. Whether it's like, I'm scared to make this tic tock video cuz I'm gonna look like an idiot. Do it and just see what happens. And it shows you that you do these small investments of yourself that you love yourself, enough care about yourself enough want to succeed enough, that you just do these things that scare you. And now, that is, uh, one of the best ways that I've shown I love myself is by doing these things that scare me, you know?

Nicholas:

Yeah, I think that's, I think that's crucial. Getting outside of your comfort zone. Like that's where good things happen. Also, like, hype yourself up, like you would hype up your best friend, honestly. Think of it like that, like, what would you say to your best friend that was starting a new job or a new career or like, wants to dive into entrepreneurship or just going on a date? Or like, hype yourself up? Like you would hype them up? Yeah, it's just that simple. You know, yeah, be your own best friend.

Melissa Bright:

Great advice. Great advice. Okay. Now we're gonna flip it a little bit, and we're gonna, if you could give one piece of advice to an artist, what would that advice be?

Nicholas:

It is similar, right? Of course, hard work pays off, honestly. But in regards to art. It's hard because, you know, you want to sell stuff, right? Selling feels good. Selling is like, the most validating thing that can not the not the most, but it is extremely validating to think that someone is spending their hard earned money on something that you just created. Like, like, when you put it on paper like that. It's like, so interesting. Like, I paint eggs, and people buy it. It's crazy. It really is. But with that being said, to the artists, like, Don't obsess over that. Don't obsess with trends don't obsess with like, what is going to sell, because then you just become, like, lack for a better term, like a sellout, you know, then you're not creating work for yourself. And like, that's why we're all here. Right, like Van Gogh, he painted because he had to, to exist. And he sold one painting during his lifetime. Like, he was not painting for any other reason, except the fact that he had to. So remember that, remember why you're an artist, you know, I'm an artist first. And like, I create things that then speak to people. I, it's not too often where I'm creating things that I intentionally want to speak to people. You know, sometimes I do like St. Louis stuff, it'll sell St. Louis people, you know, you have to have a business side of things. But I do feel like even given that I'm still authentic to myself and doing what I need to create, as well as what might sell well. Yeah. So I just think being true to yourself, no matter what it is, is super important. As far as art goes, also putting in the hard work. Like, I know, like my story sounds romantic and it sounds like oh my god, how do I do that? Like no, like, I have worked so hard. I have so many bad drawings, so many bad paintings. Like I, I just you have to do 1000s of drawings and paintings to get to the point where you can put your ideas on paper and like don't give up don't get frustrated. Like, I don't know I just Just don't give up seriously it's not easy at all. It is not but you will get there because hard work pays off and It'll show like when I look at my work from four years ago it's insane. Yeah, it's insane.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. I love what you said about like doing your own unique stuff like of course do what what sells but like your eggs obsessed like Okay, so these eggs, he paints eggs fried egg on different things. So for St. Louis he painted them on was at the Capitol Building and the arch.

Nicholas:

Yeah, Capitol building in the arch. I've done the Bebo mill, I've done the Amoco sign, the Basilica, I've done the it all started with a statue of St. Louis. So that's like where it began. But yeah, I bag something now and how it started? Actually, can I actually that question is like, yeah, what's with all the eggs, and I need to print it out. I tell this story. So many times that mark is. Okay, so I mentioned that I do makeup. If you've looked at my social media, you will see the makeup. Last October, I did this series where I did makeup, and then I painted in plein air, so which means on location outdoors. And on those days, it was my goal for my painting to match my makeup. So one day I covered myself and realistic fried eggs, casual day look, you know, as one does. And then I went to the art museum and I painted the statue of St. Louis. And that was my first time ever adding eggs to things that weren't actually there. Because I wanted it to match my makeup. And so that was the thing. And honestly, that is where it started. That painting did so well. And people are like, like, what what is with it? I didn't even get it. But I want it lay up you know? Yep. And so now I just add eggs to things. And it's become a staple for sure. Like, yes, one of my recent digital illustrations of the I talked about it previously an episode of like the arch moment. And it's like space in the magic door. On the very bottom left corner is just a tiny little fried egg. And it's just kind of Oh

Melissa Bright:

my god. I love it. I own one of his that's just the Friday fried egg itself. And then I own the other one that is is at the Capitol building. Yeah. Building

Nicholas:

in the arch. Yes. I

Melissa Bright:

just know that. That's a courthouse. Of course. Yes. Thank you. Thank you, not capital. No. And I have a word that has eggs on it. And I love it. It's in my kitchen. It's just Oh my gosh, like, Who would have thought eggs? Like who would have thought fried eggs I'm telling you. And it's so cool. It's so cool. Okay, it's how I know we already said this. But since we're getting to the end, how can people find your artwork?

Nicholas:

Honestly, I was doing as I was filling out your sheet last night, I'd realized that like I'm just searchable. So Nicholas, Holman art and Google, you're gonna find things. So yes, because it's Nicholas Holman are everywhere. So tick tock, Instagram, Facebook, Nicholas, woman art, my Etsy Nicholas Holman art. So it's just Google that and you will find something for Nicholas fan art.

Melissa Bright:

Awesome. Okay, Nick, I have one last question for you that I asked all of my guests. In your own words, what does the bright side of life mean to you?

Nicholas:

Because I'm wired as an optimist, right? This is an easy question for me. Honestly, I just think it's about always finding the silver lining, like Yes, something should happen. But like, there's something good that came out of that. Like, for me, specifically, in the last 12 months, 18 months, like, so many, like, my life has been just wild. absolutely wild. And like moving to Arizona, and then the pandemic ruining that, like, that's really shitty, right. But in hindsight, that was totally meant to be that was a part of my story. And I think maybe in the moment, you don't see it. But everything really does happen for a reason. I listened to this speech from Steve Jobs at one of these colleges. And he was talking about how like, life is like a connected puzzle. And right now you're at a dot, and like, you can't connect to the next one. But when you look back, they really all do connect and make a picture, because but when you think about the last shot you were at, it probably made no sense. And you're like, what is happening? Why is this so hard? You know, like when I was in that dot and Arizona, like losing basically all of this excitement, and the pandemic and all of that. It was really stressful. But then like my next thought, and then like now the dot that I'm at now, these pieces line together and are making this picture that literally makes so much sense, you know, It's pushed me in different directions and inspired me in different places. I've met amazing people, I ended up on that road trip, you know, like, the dots really do start to add up. So like, if you're at a dot right now, that's really hard and really challenging. Just know it's for a reason, and you're just going to become stronger from it. So

Melissa Bright:

I love it. And that's like the best analogy analogy. I was gonna say cliche. And I'm like, that's not right. That's the best analogy I've heard. That's really helpful.

Nicholas:

Yeah, that really sticks with me.

Melissa Bright:

Thank you. So, so much for coming on my show. I know we've been wanting to have this conversation for a while. Or been for months for months. Guys, please, please go. I'm telling you go check out his tic tock. They are so much fun to watch so much fun to watch. Like, I literally could get just, like drowned in your stuff. Because you're so fun. And yeah, to go check them out. Go buy some of his artwork, because it's amazing. Coming up with Christmas. Coming up on Christmas. All right. Okay. That's it. Thank you guys for listening to this week's episode of The Bright Side of Life. Thank you for listening to me sniffling. through it. It's the sinus infection sucks. But I hope you guys enjoyed this episode with Nick, he is such an inspiring person. I have seen this all unfold on social media. And it has just been so fun to see it. And I hope you guys got some inspiration of you know, from him, we had so many takeaways talking about work life balance and what it means to be in the middle of a burnout because that stuff does happen and self sabotage that we are sometimes all guilty of doing. So there were so many great takeaways. And if you guys are interested in his artwork, or following him on social media, just go to the website in my show notes now, which is the bright side of life podcast.com And on his episode, it is going to have his guest profile on there. So it'll take you to all of his links if you want to look at any of his artwork and stuff like that. Also, if you have not subscribed or followed me on your favorite listening platform, be sure to do so. And I know that this week is Thanksgiving, so it probably means it's a short week for you guys. I want to wish you guys a happy Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you guys have a wonderful time with your friends with your family, whomever you are spending Thanksgiving with I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful holiday. And as always guys, if you know anyone that may need to hear Nick's story, or just a little bit of inspiration, please please share this episode with them because you never know if this is the one that puts hope back in their heart.

Nicholas Holman

Artist

Although artistic blood runs through his veins, Nicholas, a third-generation artist born in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri, did not discover his love of artistic inspiration and creation until 2015. Since then, he can be found wandering the urban and rural landscape, paintbrush in hand.

Nicholas appreciates the characteristics of a variety of artistic mediums and, therefore, does not restrict himself to one. Typically, he expresses himself through gouache, pastels, charcoal, oils, and digital although he has also been known to dapple in photography and to use his own body as a canvas.

Nicholas' drive to create echoes as a visceral compulsion. Fortunately, he has orchestrated his life in a way that he surrounds himself with habits of artistic exploration, offering a multitude of subjects to satiate his creative appetite. Nicholas sees inspiration as not a dream to be waited and wished upon, but as a muse of opportunity born of the willingness to seek out and appreciate the beauty in his surroundings.

Professionally, in the near future, Nicholas will enter his paintings into competitions and seek gallery representation. Eventually, he sees himself opening his own studio to host classes and to inspire younger artists' aspirations whether artistic or mundane. On the personal side, Nicholas yearns to travel the world while painting en plein air the whole way around. While he waits on his opportunity for global adventure, he will continue creating big, home-cooked meals for friends and family and appreciating the adventures that await.