by Liz Ream
Visiting Nicolle Clemetson‘s website is sort of like… entering a real-life (adult) version of Candy Land. In the best way possible. Her wacky and well-executed ideas are far from the kind of work that I see every day— ideas that always make me curious (and a bit envious) of the unique and imaginative mind of Nicolle.
Her most recent idea features one of my personal favorite foods… hot dogs. (Yeah, I said it.) They are delicious! Nicolle seems to think so as well, as she said that this shoot, called Hotdog Mustard Pump, stemmed from her deep love for hot dogs, pizza and color. Yum. She collaborated with designer/illustrator Will Bryant, who provided most of the props and wardrobe pieces from his personally designed collection. Wardrobe stylist Kristin Lane rounded out the creative team.
The main reason behind Nicolle’s personal work is, of course, for the sake of all things art:
Sure there’s the money-making, commercial end of the business which is great; but for me the most satisfying feeling is having full creative control, starting from scratch, and making something new in studio- just playing around with random shapes, colors, and objects until your concepts come to visual fruition. These are the moments that inspire my commissioned assignments and editorial work. Shooting personal work is my strongest marketing tool, as it shows potential clients my point-of-view and my level of creativity that I can bring onto commercial shoots. This year alone I have gained more new clients because of the personal projects and collaborations I’ve created than from any of my paid work.
Nicolle admits that she turns her focus away from what she thinks potential art buyers and clients would want to see and simply focuses on visually entertaining and interesting pop-culture trends in the world around her, saying “sometimes I’m poking fun at societal norms, other times it’s dick jokes. Most of the time I want to make art that makes the viewer uncomfortable, while also feeling grateful for that same feeling, ya know?”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. What are comfort zones good for, anyway?
There were two models on set— the first one “knocking it out of the park,” and the second one a bit more reserved. Nicolle panicked at first (as one would expect, reserved isn’t quite her thing), but in the end she worked the extreme juxtaposition of the two models’ energies in her favor for a slightly quirky, slightly fierce result.
The project has spread rapidly through the “Tumblr-sphere,” and is doing it’s destined job of getting the word out about Nicolle’s style. As for the future, she plans to keep creating, pushing the envelope and having fun.