by Jessika Hepburn, O Happy Day Handmade
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nicki Piercy Coddington of Bespoke Painting & Boutique about her life, business, and art. Along with her insightful answers she shared some beautiful photos of her studio and pictures of what inspires her as an artist. Come back next Sunday (October 10th) for a review of the beautiful Bespoke mirror that will be making a guest appearance at my daughter’s birthday as well as a Bespoke Painting giveaway!
Nicki at work in her studio creating a Silhouette hand painted mirror
Can you tell OMHG readers a bit about yourself and your family?
I was raised in the heart of the English countryside where my parents and siblings still live. I moved to the US in 1989 and have lived in NYC since 1998. I LOVE it here and can’t see myself ever living back in England, but who knows what’s around the corner so I never say never!
I have an eleven-year-old daughter who, even she though has lived her entire life in NYC, says that she is a “country girl”! We travel back to England a couple of times a year to see everyone and spend time soaking up the peace and quiet. It was really important to me that Sydney has a close relationship with her family there and also get to experience the joy and uniqueness of living in England.
How did you get your start as an artist, have you always been creative, or is this a new career path?
I have always been creative and always wanted to work in some creative field or other. I went to art school in London and then worked there in the fashion business. I started my own business in 1993, doing display and graphic design. Painting was a natural progression: retail customers asked me to paint murals in their stores and things just snow balled from there. I took time off to be a mum but never stopped painting. Painting the odd room or wall or piece of furniture here and there helped me realize what the next phase of my career would be. Launching Bespoke Painting has been on my mind for several years, especially the Boutique. I knew there must be a niche for unique, beautiful hand painted furnishings and room accessories and also for upcycled pieces.
The Posy hand painted rocking chair is beautifully influenced by Nicki’s love of flowers and colour.
What types of handmade art do you create for Bespoke Hand Painting?
It falls in to 3 distinct categories: there’s the hand painted rooms and walls, the Boutique line of ready-to-buy furniture and room accessories and then there are the totally unique, one-off upcycled and hand painted pieces.
What inspires you most as an artist?
Mostly it’s the peace I find in my parents garden in England. They have created 7 acres of drop-dead gorgeousness!! An arboretum has been their most recent project on the property and that includes a lake (I love seeing the baby ducklings every summer…it’s a ritual for us now), a lookout tower, the most amazing planted flower beds, a vegetable garden, a koi pond. I can spend hours wandering around there and always see something new. Colour has always been a huge part of my life, a combination of unexpected hues, a pattern creating something visually exciting, I remember being 5 or 6 years old and just LOVING looking at the marker pen colours in the art store and being fascinated!!! But also what inspires me are old and cast aside furniture that most people wouldn’t look twice at such as a beaten up chair that needs some TLC and then bringing back to life with paint and fabric-I am always curious about a piece’s story!
How do you balance the demands of parenting with your business and art?
It’s a constant challenge! I’m a newly single mum so there are demands and limitations that I never dreamed of! Working at nighttime, and on weekends is a given…when Sydney is with her dad then I can get to work and be totally focused. But I am always being creative: looking, absorbing and thinking about the things around me, things I come into contact with-that is just an innate part of my life.
Blossoms, flowers and butterflies are recurring themes in Nicki’s art, like in this Blossom Desk Set.
What advice would you offer to artists seeking to turn their art into a business?
Be passionate. Believe in yourself. Love what you’re doing. Be compassionate.
Be flexible. Be a perfectionist. It all shows and people respond to that. I’m a huge believer in “what goes around comes around”.
How do you market/advertise bespoke?
Mostly it’s been word of mouth. Since I’ve launched the website I have the wonderful Jeanette who was recommended to me by a friend and now handles all of my online marketing. I have printed materials of my products that I take everywhere, leave everywhere and give to everyone. Next goal is to get the product into home décor, children’s and gift type stores,
Do you have a studio/workroom where you create?
I have a studio in my home. Its completely white…cabinets, walls, work surface. And I love my collection of ceramic pots and vases that I store my brushes in!
What are your plans for the business in the future; do you have any new products or exciting opportunities in the works?
I’m launching 2 new items in the next few weeks in the Boutique: A tall hand painted mirror and a 4-panel screen. For the holidays I have a great new design to launch, which I think will especially appeal to teenage girls, and their modern mums! Also I have some wonderful new upcycled items in the works. If people would like notification when these items are launched they can send us their email address and we will send details!