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October 07, 2015 4 min read

Socks for Your Next Adventure

Nicole Gaitan

I grew up in the mountains, so naturally, I'm a wanderer. I seek adventure, experience and the unknown. I am drawn to beautiful landscapes and endeavors that challenge me. I think that is why, despite a rocky road, I've chosen art as a career.

The Grand from Jackson Lake

I tend to paint the mountains I'm most familiar with, the Teton Range in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Of all the mountains I've traveled to see, they are, in my opinion, the most beautiful. To climb them, they are unforgiving. To look at, they are majestic. And to paint, they challenging. No matter how many times I go into the mountains, there is always a new trail... the same way I paint them... there is always a new way.

 

 

Waning Seasons in the Tetons

The way I look at my life as an adventure is the same way I look at my career as an artist. Being considered an artist is always interesting. To this day, although I make a living doing something I love, I still struggle with that title. I feel like a hack that somehow tricked everyone into thinking I was worthy of the title. I suppose it's the age old notion that artists are all very critical of their own work. We are forever wondering if what we produce is good enough, if it will be received by the public or if we should just throw in the towel and get a job at the local McDonalds. It's a scary thing to put yourself out there and ask for money for something you create, but once people start paying you--people from all walks of life--it's really an incredible feeling. And I'm very grateful. Every. Single. Day.

I'd like to think of myself as a free spirit and an adventurer. I can never sit still and I've never been happy in one place or doing one thing. One job, one career, one path has never been appealing to me. Exploring, trying new things and trying out everything has always been more of my style. I suppose the artist in me, that urge to create has been my inspiration and I think it's very prominent in my artwork. You can see my lines meander and my colors change as if there is a sense of urgency. While everything else in my paintings is very loose, I really like to give the creatures in my paintings soulful eyes. I think the eyes tell a lot about the artist and give the patron more than just something pretty for their walls, it gives them a piece of me. Maybe an idea of what I was feeling when I was painting when I brought the brush to that canvas.

Going Home

I hope that my work can do more for people than just please them visually. I hope it can inspire them in a few ways:

1) To do what they love.

If you love what you do, keep doing it and it can become a career. 5 years ago I thought that making a living on my art was completely out of the question. When I finished college at the tender age of 21 I felt lost, but as a motivated little lady, I opened my own business that did really well, but I never felt satisfied. I painted during this time and people would always ask me, "What about making a living on your art?" I laughed in their faces and shrugged them off as ridiculous. I started putting work online and to my surprise, it was well received. Then, I put some work into some shows. Then into a gallery. Now, here I am barely able to produce enough work -- and that's a great problem to have! So, my point, if you want to do something, don't give up on your dream.

Nicole Gaitan creating art

2) To be grateful.

We all have something to be grateful for. Even if you're not where you thought you'd be no matter what age you are, you have a lot to be grateful for. I thought that after starting a business I had nowhere to go, that I was locked in and that was it. You can do anything at any point. It's. Never. Too. Late. Being grateful every single day will help you realize this. I don't think I could have gotten this far with my artwork if I didn't stop to realize all the things I had to be grateful for. and finally...

Nicole Gaitan discussing her work

3) It doesn't matter what anyone thinks.

It took me a while to get over this. When you put your artwork on display and you have it all over the country, people start to recognize you and know your name. They talk about you and your work. They say things about you. There are people that have negative things to say. It hurts. Some people just don't care and will tell you to your face. In the past, it has made me feel like giving up and choosing another career path. What I had to realize is, it's not about me, it's about them. This is true no matter what situation we go through in life. If we know we are doing our best and we are being true to ourselves, then it's their problem, not ours. 

- Nicole Gaitan

Nicole's work can be seen at www.nkgart.com and on display at Grand Teton Gallery in Jackson WY and Paderewski Gallery in Beaver Creek CO.

Get outside and find your own inspiration with tips from a beginner's first backpacking trip.

Nicole Gaitan
Nicole Gaitan

Nicole is a full time artist living in Jackson Hole, WY. She attended undergraduate and graduate school in Santa Cruz and finds her inspiration in the mountains.


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