I was born and raised in South Florida, where I spent most of my childhood. When I started High School, my family relocated to Martin County. Having been surrounded by Floridian wildlife since birth, Iíve grown into an avid spectator of both flora and fauna native to the area. Any free time I have is primarily spent in the water or on the water, and snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean has been a past time of mine since I learned to swim. To this day, I still go home to Jupiter Beach to go fishing on my fatherís boat, relive the fond memories, and gain inspiration from the salty breeze. Each of my unique mixed media pieces is a snippet of the childhood memories that I share with the world.
Throughout my elementary school years, I could always be found drawing instead of focusing on the class work like my peers. At that time, my drawings consisted of all sorts of varied subjects Ė mainly people, horses, and marine life. During the fourth grade, I was asked by my after-school teacher to go outside and draw a mural of our school mascot: a white mustang. My teacher was so impressed with that early work of mine that she petitioned to have it used as a t-shirt design, which was later used as a fundraiser for the afterschool daycare program. The design was a huge success, and soon students, parents, faculty, and staff were sporting the White Mustang design I created. To this day I still have my t-shirt from McNab Elementary School in Pompano Beach, Florida Ė my first piece of Ďpurchasedí art.
Once I transitioned into middle school, I was frequently asked by teachers and classmates alike to draw something for them. I never had the opportunity to take the available elective art class, as the course vacancies were always filled before I had the ability to register. Fortunately, I befriended the art instructor and received guidance and mentoring during my time in school, despite not being able to attend formal training to improve my artistic eye. My final year of middle school, I was presented with the opportunity to paint a series of Florida themed murals for the exterior walls of the facilities. These murals are still intact and are proudly exhibited by Pompano Beach Middle School.
With the help of two remarkable art teachers, Tom Prestopnik and Tom Wetzl of South Fork High School, I finally was able to truly blossom as an artist. They became my source of encouragement, constructive criticism, and inspiration and offered formal instruction that I had not had the opportunity of receiving in my earlier development. I learned that I had an extraordinary God-given talent that developed during my fours year at South Fork. While in attendance, I became known as the schoolís artist for my mural and graphic design contributions to the facilities. Annually, I submitted my work into student art shows won first place and best of show on several occasions. I participated in the Society of Four Arts Show my junior year in high school, which truly set the stage for my final year in High School.
By the time I was a senior, I had achieved the highest number of art awards received by a student in the history of South Fork High School. My senior year, I won the Path Finderís Art Category, which is a scholarship program [for college] that also paid for an art booth at ArtiGras in Abacoa, Florida. In addition, I also won the First Lady Arts Recognition Scholarship and was invited to the awards event at the governorís mansion. Governor Jeb Bush administered the event during his time in office, and my family and I enjoyed hors díoeuvres with the Governor and his wife after my reception ceremony for the award. One of the most honorable art awards I won during my senior year was for the 22nd Annual Congressional Art Competition. I was the winner for Florida's sixteenth District when Mark Foley was in office. I was given two plane tickets to Washington D.C. to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for all of the district winners that participated across the nation.
In addition to competing in art shows throughout my high school career, I continued to build up my reputation as a muralist and worked on many interior and exterior wall-paintings commissioned by doctors, local residents, businesses, schools, family and friends. High School also began my experimentation with mixed media artwork and gave birth to the creation of the new technique that dominates my growing portfolio. This series has grown significantly and improved over the last few years, as my perception of texture and my understanding of complex imagery has continued to develop. My father, Paul Nichols, inspired me to combine textured surfaces with smooth, putting realistic imagery and vivid color interpretation all in one piece. With my fatherís construction background, I was able to experiment with plastering techniques using his accessible materials.
I began my studies at Palm Beach Community College and graduated with an Associates in Graphic Design. The following spring term of 2005, I transferred to UCF to continue on my path towards a Bachelor in Art Education. I focused on the creation of various works of art as a requirement of my studies at the University of Central Florida. The opportunity to have this major was very important to me, having always been a huge advocate of fine arts education in the public school system. I interned as a student teacher for Midway Elementary School in Sanford, FL and for Teague Middle School in Altamonte Springs, FL for my final year at UCF and the completion of course credits. I enjoyed my experience as an art teacher, seeing the application of theory and education mixed together in a classroom experience. Graduating in May 2008, I landed my first career position at Full Sail University working in Admissions. I worked for an award winning University with great people, cream-of-the-crop educators who support the best educational experience out there in the Media and Entertainment Industry. As of October 2010, I also became a Full Sail Alumni with the completion of my Master of Fine Arts degree in Media Design.
Further more, I have been fortunate to be able to teach the one subject I love the most, Visual Fine Arts. I have taught Elementary & Middle at Good Shepherd Catholic School and currently teach 9th grade Drawing 1 at West Orange High School. As I have many important goals I am working towards, my ultimate love and enjoyment in life is creating new designs and creative works of art to share and educate people through an artistic experience. I hope to see you at my future art shows and exhibits!