An Artist With Something To Say: Nicole's Story

Posted May 19, 2013 @ 9:34am | by Danelle

Nicole is an artist with Cerebral Palsy.  Although verbal communication has it’s challenges for her, she is a woman with important things to say.  She runs deep.  For Nicole having a disability is central to her art work.  It is part of her life experience.  It is always with her.  It is part of how she sees herself and how others see her.  Nicole decided to explore the idea of self portraits that would represent all of the aspects of who she is.  As we explored this idea an interesting concept of “masks” emerged. These masks represent the reality of her life with a disability.  The masks she wears are for protection and for protecting others.  A happy face to protect loved ones from the pain of her struggles, a mask of strength to face the world, and a mask of armor to hide from others judgements and misperceptions.

This series is painful, personal and revealing, but it is powerful in it’s honesty and truth.  The process of creating it was painful, emotional, and liberating.  There is something about taking the reality of an idea, examining it, and looking at it in the light of day(no matter how painful) and putting it out there that is liberating and healing.  It empowers.  This is the transformational power of art for an artist and the viewer . What started out as something about being “different” became something that shows that we are really all the same.  Her theme of protective masks is universal. We all wear protective masks. A reminder that we really are more alike than different. Images combined with thoughts and ideas can be a powerful thing.

This is the power of art. It communicates.  It transforms.  It unites.  It creates a dialogue.  It gives a voice to people who don’t have a voice.  Or, it helps them to find the voice they didn’t know they had.

Even a simple abstract color or line design has this power. It still communicates, is original and is an expression from an individual.  It can also be the beginning of more great things to come. This is why it is important that people with disabilities get the opportunities to learn art skills and get a chance to figure out what they have to say.

To view Nicole’s art work go to

Filed Under: Artist Stories | Permalink

Ready to learn more about how we can help?

Get Started