The Visual Artist: Nicole Hill
December 9, 2011
Once upon a time, there was a girl who spent way too many hours on Pinterest. One day, while she was pinning away, she landed on a website that transported her into a world of pretty. Endlessly skipping through the meadows of dreamy images, she found herself wanting to know more about the curator who had the ability to transport her from chaos and poo, to frolicking in a field of romantic french loveliness.
Enter Nicole Hill. A beautiful, kind, sweet, talented visionary who, I’m most certain, leaves a trail of pixie dust wherever she goes…
where are you from?
what do you do?
I have an online vintage home décor shop called Confetti Garden. I collect vintage treasures by scouring antique shops, second hand stores, and flea markets. I run the Confetti Garden Tumblr blog where I showcase some of my own work, along side the drawings, paintings, photography, and music of other talented artists.
I take amateur photos, I do a wee bit of styling and interior decorating, which I would like to do a lot more of in the near future. I’ve just recently become a social action representative for the Miss Representation campaign which seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting labels in order to realize their potential. It’s basically a movement to end sexism and to empower young girls and women.
I enjoy spending my free time with my two sweet young nephews, my three pups, and my love, Jesse. I’ve been practicing working from home for a while in preparation for our upcoming adoption so that I can stay home with our newborn baby; It’s just something that Jesse and I have wanted for so long. Sometimes it takes my breath away thinking of what it will be like to finally be a family of three. We are getting closer and closer to that moment and the thought of meeting a birth mom and her choosing us is just mind blowing. It is such a selfless act of unconditional love for a woman to give her baby up for adoption and put herself last and her baby first. I truly cannot imagine being on that side of it. We have such a short period of time to bond with the birth mother, and I am a wee bit anxious about this. I can only imagine that the birth mom will be feeling the same way. It’s unbelievable to think that there is a woman somewhere right now, who I have never met, and who is about to play the single most important role in my life.
what were you doing ten years ago?
Oh wow, we’re taking it way back, huh? Okay, well lets see, I was finishing up my Bachelors degree in Social Work and toying around with the idea of opening a business, which I ended up doing with a partner in 2004-2009 with my first boutique, followed by a cupcake bakery in 2007-2009. I was also reeling from the events of 9/11 and learning how to deal with the diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder. I was looking forward to turning 30 and leaving my twenties behind me. I have no desire to revisit my twenties.
what’s your biggest challenge today?
I would say that it is a challenge for me to live in a somewhat conservative society governed by traditional rules while remaining a highly unconventional spirit. I am determined to earn an income by doing what I love to do. And as you can imagine, this is an ongoing challenge, but it’s one that I’m up for, and so far so good (fingers crossed).
who are some of your greatest teachers?
Oh gosh, that is endless. I do believe that we are all connected in some way and that we learn something from each person that we meet no matter how ugly the situation. I’d say for me personally my greatest teachers have been my nearest and dearest friends and family… and throw in an art teacher, or two, here and there.
On a personal level, my partner Jesse has helped me learn the most about my real self, and about acceptance and patience. He’s also made his best attempt at teaching me how to be more laid back. I mean I still go a little koo koo when I see the bedroom floor covered in dirty clothes, but I’m getting better after nearly 13 years of cohabitating. Of course I’ve learned the most from my own mistakes, and I’m pretty sure by now, that this is not something that’s ever gonna change.
what is your wish for other women?
I wish that women wouldn’t be so hard on themselves. It is also my wish for other women to never ever let their creative-self die. That is a crime! I wish for women to be valued for their talents rather than their looks. And I wish that women would remember that we are the 51% and we do not have to put up with how we are represented in the media and that together we really can MAKE a change rather than just bitching about it.
where do you find design inspiration?
Truly everywhere. My mind is rarely ever off of design. I’d say I’m bordering on obsessed. When I’m at the movies I find myself paying as much attention to the apartment the actor lives in or the outfit she or he is wearing, as much as I do the dialogue and the story. I could quite literally watch HGTV for 24 hours straight. It’s a sickness. I find inspiration in all of my talented friends’ homes and designs. I find a ton of inspiration on blogs of course. I all too easily slip into a design blog roll that I may not find my way out of for several hours.
My cherished, and oh-so creative, Flickr friends are like a second family to me and they continue to inspire me on a daily basis with their photographs. I find a ton of design inspiration on Pinterest (hallelujah for Pinterest!). Etsy creatives are an endless supply of inspiration, and where I believe that most good designs begin. I find inspiration on the street, at the market, in nature, in boutiques and cafés, architecture, music, art, and films. The film Amelie seriously changed my life!
where are your favorite places to find treasures?
I admit to finding way too much joy in shopping. I shop at Sephora, Beauty Habit, L’Occitane, Lush, or Aveda for all of my face, body and hair needs. I am addicted to scents too. I have a shameful collection of perfumes & scented oils.
I rarely shop for clothing as I practically live in pajamas and flannels, and I have bundles of clothes from my boutique years. But I do enjoy looking through Free People & Anthropologie catalogs for clothes. Dreamy online shops that I like to peruse are Topshop, Zara, Mod Cloth, Blue Polly, Hallelu boutique, and Steven Alan. Ban.do is excellent for hair accessories specifically. Matt & Nat is the place for eco-friendly vegan handbags. Zappos is my spot for shoes. Aden & Anais is where it’s at for baby goodies. Polyvore is a really fun place to put outfits together. Local boutiques and second hand shops are my favorite spots to actually pick something up when I am able to get out of the house. Etsy is my goto place for both clothing and home accessories as well as amazing art. Both my boyfriend and my best friend are artists so I get the hook up in the art department. My favorite Etsy shops are Enhabiten, Tiny Happy, Dottie Angel, Up in the Air Somewhere, Yokoo, Jennifer Davis, Zebras & Bubblegum, and Trampoline. There are so many more that I am forgetting…
I hit flea markets and second hand shops for unique treasures and large furniture pieces to decorate my home on a budget. Three Potato Four, Habitat, Story, The Society Inc, and Summerland are online home décor shops that blow my mind. I look to Dwell Studio for rugs and bedding. I could also die happy in ABC Carpet and Home. I do my very best to shop locally for as much as I can. But stores like Ikea, Target, Marshall’s and Home Goods will surprise you and suck you in with their selection and price point.
if you could spend a weekend in any era, which would it be?
Without a doubt the “Roaring Twenties”! The clothes! The hair! The music! And prohibition! I cannot imagine a better time. Everything was changing so quickly in the 1920s. I would have been in heaven. The 1920s brought such great economic prosperity and the FLAPPER for goodness sake! It was the era of the Jazz Age, my favorite! Art Deco was the heavenly style of design. The 19th Amendment gave Women the right to vote. It was the beginning of moving pictures and it was the golden age of radio. Indoor plumbing and the telephone too, I mean damn! The excitement must have been overwhelming and somewhat surreal.
I would pretty much live out Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris”. I’d slip on my best flapper dress, throw on a fancy hat or slip a fascinator in my hair and jump in my Model T and ride off to pick up my bestie Gertrude Stein. We’d hit the local jazz club and I’d romance Ernest Hemingway with a sexy slow dance to a live Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong number while Ernie whispered brilliant sweet nothings into my ear. Then we’d roll back to my art deco style crib for a little mint julep nightcap and a silent movie. Something along those lines I suppose, lol.
what do you do to let out steam?
I vent, A LOT! I’ll call up my sister in-law and vent for hours, or ramble on and on to Jesse. It is not healthy to keep that shit inside. I’ll have a glass (or two) of red wine, or in serious defcon 1 moment; a shot of whiskey usually does the trick. Another slightly shameful practice of letting off steam for me is shopping (no judging). Retail therapy is real, and sadly, it works. Even if I don’t buy a single thing, seeing lovely treats and sniffing dreamy scents instantly makes my head spin with happiness.
I am terrible about exercising, I mean TERRIBLE. But I have found dancing to be a cure all for letting off steam, that, and chocolate. Chocolate is a cure-all if you ask me. Banging on the piano is very helpful, but currently I am in search of a replacement piano. For now, piano music by Dustin O’Halloran or Jazz music by Duke Ellington or Charles Mingus, topped off with a long hot lavender bath works wonders for me.
what do you collect?
I seem to have a never-ending supply of collections. I don’t know why this is exactly. Things just look prettier in threes and fours, don’t they? I think I also enjoy the hunt. There is just something satisfying about collecting. It’s not something I ever think about, it just happens. In fact, upon closer inspection to answer your question I discovered that I have more collections than I even realized. Yikes.
Apparently I collect old floral oil paintings, suitcases, lamps, old alarm clocks, chairs, turquoise metal cars & trucks, chalk globes made by my boyfriend, glass bottles, flower frogs, perfume, old music sheets and postcards, antique guitars and typewriters just to name a few.
All photos by Nicole Hill.