Once upon a time, back in the old days, meeting people on the internet was considered a little desperate, and let's face it, kinda weird. Luckily, we've evolved, thanks in large to the social media age, and it's no longer necessary to keep your internet friends a secret!
Over the last few years I have met some wonderfully creative people on Instagram. Some remain Insta pals while others I have had the pleasure of meeting first hand. One of those creatives is photographer Nicolette Johnson. I first noticed Nicolette's beautiful photography early last year and was immediately attracted to her use of rich warm tones and the coolest of blue greys in her work.
By pure chance, and a shared love of ceramics, Nic and I ended up in the same ceramics class here in Brisbane. Fast forward a few months and it's become apparent that Nicolette's artistic eye behind the lense has certainly spread to her passion for pottery.
Nic recently returned from a month long visit to her home town of Texas with her husband Tom and I jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions about her trip, what inspires her and everything in between.
Can you share a bit about your background and how you came to be where you are today?
I'm definitely a very right-brained person, pretty day-dreamy, possibly the best procrastinator ever. I always loved my art classes when I was growing up, from primary school right up until the end of high school, so it felt like I was being very spoiled when I was accepted into a photography course at QCA. I started out leaning towards the fine art side of photography, but as I continued studying I began focusing on a more photojournalistic approach, which is what I ended up majoring in. This combination has definitely found its way into my practice today.
Did growing up in Texas influence you as a photographer?
Because I hadn't started practicing photography until after I had moved to Brisbane I don't think being in Texas has influenced my photographic style much, however I know it has influenced my personal style quite a bit. I love to surround myself with things that remind me of there, whether it's specific foods (like Tex-Mex, or pumpkin pie, your favourite!), earthy colours that remind me of the Southwest like browns and ochres, and of course big chunky turquoise jewellery straight from the 70's.
Is photography something that you have always been drawn to?
Absolutely. When I was in high school I obsessively took pictures of my younger sister in all different types of costumes and locations. I loved the theatre of it.
You've recently started learning ceramics, how are you enjoying delving in to a different creative medium?
It is my respite from the everyday at the moment. I love being able to learn a completely new skill and create something with my hands, which is a welcome counterpoint to digital photography. There is something so incredibly magical about taking a material from the earth and coaxing it into a new, beautiful form that you can eventually touch and interact with everyday.
What inspires your creativity?
Usually other creative people. Sometimes I will get a lot of inspiration from a mood or a feeling but often, as with most art, it is an amalgamation of everything you've ever been exposed to, only interpreted from your own perspective.
You've recently moved from an apartment to a house, is there anything you're intentionally leaving out of your new space?
The nice thing about moving from a small apartment to a small house is that there is just a little bit more space to spread out, but not too much. The house still feels filled and while there are a few projects I want to work on now that I have more room (like a long, low bookshelf to go under a big set of windows in the entryway, or some planter boxes for our back veranda) things are sitting just right in here. In terms of leaving things out, I do have a lot of artwork on the floor leaning up against walls at the moment because I am not sure where to put them. I feel like I don't want to clutter these walls as much, like blank spaces might be more important than filling them up.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I've always found this to be a hard question! I would say a little bit country or Shaker maybe (the minimalist in me), a little bit Victorian (the maximalist in me) and a little bit Palm Springs (the desert-lover in me)?
I've heard that photographers tend to look at their environment in terms of composition, do you think your background in photography influences the way you see and decorate your home?
I think you're right. I have on occasion found myself shuffling things in my home because they don't photograph well in a certain arrangement.
You traveled back to the states recently for Christmas and visited your family in Texas, can you tell us a bit about your trip, were there places you visited which you found particularly inspiring/interesting?
My husband Tom and I took a trip to Marfa, Texas and then onto Santa Fe, New Mexico and spent a week driving around out there which is quickly becoming one of our favourite things to do. We had never been to Marfa before, but it is a town like no other. The place is full of artists and lovely, wonderful, hospitable people and delicious food and the most relaxed vibe ever. From there onto Santa Fe, where we walked around the adobe town centre in the snow and went horseback riding on Georgia O'Keeffe's ranch and ate as much Hatch green chile as we could stuff into our faces. New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment and they ain't lying. Also, all of my carry-on luggage coming back home was just pottery. There was even a gigantic pot in my purse. Tom had to hold onto my passport and papers for me.
Is there anything you are currently coveting?
Oh gosh, so many things. A pottery wheel is a big one. These Christie Nicholaides earrings.
A good pair of brown leather Swedish clogs.
Do you have any daily rituals?
Tom and I make coffee and drink it together every morning. Sometimes we'll have toast with it. Most days we sit down and have a glass of wine together in the evenings after we get home from our respective jobs. I love it!
Do you have a favourite meal you like to cook?
I have basically been living off pasta lately. I've made an eggplant involtini a couple of times with some spaghetti that is delicious and I could probably eat a whole baking pan full of it.
Favourite local spot to shop/eat?
Tom and I just moved from South Brisbane and our favourite spots are being missed so much. We were weekly (sometimes twice weekly) patrons of the Punjabi Palace which is absolutely the best Indian food in Brisbane. We also spent every Sunday morning at our local cafe, Merriweather. I also spend too much money at Gorman.