Nikolina Kupcevic held her first solo art show earlier this month in Waterloo. I’d seen her work before in group shows over the past couple of years. I enjoyed seeing all her work together and the progression of her work. We caught up after for a quick post show interview.
1. How long have you been creating your art?
I have been creating art my whole life. As a kid I was constantly drawing and coming up with new ideas to scratch onto paper and show to the world (my parents), hence why I displayed drawings from when I was little at the show! Art was a hobby until my second year of university, when this lump sum of passion seemed to jump out of me, and then I realized that this is something I want and need to take seriously - so here we are.
2. Are you doing your art full time?
Not yet. I graduated from university in April and I am working part time right now. My plan is to work and create art simultaneously until I get to the point where I can make a living solely off my art. In due time!
3. This was your first solo show. What made you decide that now was the right time for a solo show?
A couple things. First, I had a lot of art stored all over my house and I needed to exhibit and sell it before moving on to create new pieces. Second, I’ve been experiencing a turning point in my art and style of art specifically. I am working hard to up my skill level to be able to render my ideas more clearly and effectively, so I wanted to give my old art (and some new) a chance to be exhibited before this progression intensifies. I also just graduated university, so I wanted to host my first solo show at the same time, to mark this period of my life with a bunch of cool milestones! Lastly, I felt as though I had connected with enough people throughout my couple of years of seriously making art, along with a bunch of support from my friends and family, so I knew that the show would have a great turnout. I’m glad I made this decision; the night was amazing!
4. Tell me about your clothing brand and your customized hand painted sneakers.
A long time coming, I released my clothing line “Stain” this past May. Stain is a streetwear line with a message. In our world, it is unruly and abnormal to walk around in stained clothing, so I decided to play with this thought and ironically name the line “Stain”. We wear the stain even if we are told not to! Stain represents a mindset of enlightenment, positivity and rebellion – taking control of your own life and not falling into a path that makes you unhappy simply because it is the “norm”. We wear and present ourselves with brands every single day, so I decided to create one that can act as a universal symbol for a mindset of thinking bigger, seeing more. With hard work, I think a brand really can unite people and fuel a mental uprising. The brightly coloured, graphic Stain designs are made to be eye-catching and unique. I am releasing Stain 2 sometime in the fall and I am very excited for the future of my line! (@staintheworld).
My custom sneakers, which I brand as “Nik’s Kicks” are an extremely fun way for me to make the world a more colourful place. I work on a commission basis. People give me their plain white or black shoes, and I fully customize them however they’d like, or if they give me full creative freedom, however I’d like! I use a high quality leather acrylic paint, and I prepare and seal the shoes so they end up being completely waterproof and wearable. All my customs are 1/1, meaning that each pair is completely unique. Why not have a pair of kicks that represents you as an individual and makes you stand out? (@nikskickss)
5. Who is your dream client for your custom work?
Honestly, I’ve been dreaming about the day that I can paint a custom pair of kicks for Drake. I love and respect him as an artist, and seeing his growth has been fascinating. I’d love to see him rock a pair of Nik’s Kicks on the streets of Toronto and the rest of the world. That would be such a fun collaboration. Manifesting it currently!
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Story by Glodeane Brown
Photos provided by Nikolina Kupcevic