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The lyrics of the songs help local artist Nikki Douglas tell her story

Local of 27 years artist Nikki Douglas creates pieces in a captivating style he calls “lyrical art,” a type of collage that combines images with song lyrics, especially those by famous artists such as Taylor Swift, Mayday Parade and Blink-182. She has accumulated healthy social media afterwards; some of the artists whose songs inspired her have reciprocated her appreciation and shared her work with their fans.

Douglas spoke to LEO about his work, the importance of Taylor Swift and how music can help people heal.

* This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

LEO: Tell me about your job and what motivates you.

Nikki Douglas: My thesis is about how music is universal, but that interpretation isn’t always that universal. What I can interpret a text in the sense may be completely different from how you interpret it, and what the artist meant when they wrote it may be completely different from what we both interpreted. What’s universal is that it makes us feel an emotion and, in my art, I’m trying to capture that emotion.

I started doing [this style of art] in high school a little over 10 years ago, for the need to express my emotions in what I would call my art diaries. They were basically mixed media diaries in which I would express what I was feeling that day. If I was really struggling with my body image that day, I did a piece on my body image; if it was a tough day and I was feeling really low, I’d do a piece about it. Or if it were a really great day, I’d do a piece on how good I felt that day. And so those journals really cataloged my emotional journey during high school, and that’s what propelled me to this artistic, collage and mixed media style.

Your Instagram bio lists you as Swiftie, and of course the bandom is an important theme in your work in general. What specifically inspires you about Taylor’s music?

It really has text for pretty much anything you are going through at any given moment. Whether it’s the line in “The Man”, “If everyone believes you, what’s it like?” With everything that happens Roe vs Wade, I had to share that piece about it. Because as a woman who struggled with myself, not being believed by men, when I was going through a brutal time in my life, “When everyone believes you, what is it like?” [Or] even just heartbreak lyrics. I really think his jokes are so easy and accessible.

She has actually been to Louisville three times. She is coming for Speak now, RedAnd Reputation, and I’ve never seen her in any of them, because – you’ll find it so funny – I was the girl who was too good for Taylor Swift. “Ew, who is Taylor Swift?” That was literally me; I’ve been making fun of her for years.

Actually, when Reputation it turns out, I had a man who was trying to destroy my professional career. When I heard ReputationI was like, and that’s literally what I thought, ‘Shit, this bitch got it.’

That’s why that album means so much to me. In his own vein, in the darkest period of my life, I found the most beautiful thing in the world, which it was [my fiancé] Alessio [Shaw.] When I thought the world would end and that I would never get over it and that things would never go well again, I’m more than fine. They are wonderful. They are fantastic. And I’m better than I’ve ever been, as she would say. One of her quotes is “I’ve stopped listening to what people say what I can’t do and doing whatever the hell I want to do.”

You have had a number of artists who have enjoyed and shared your work online. Which of these was the most exciting or meaningful to you, and why?

Mayday Parade, because they recognized me and understood who I was when I saw them in concert. I told them I was going to be in the front row at their concert and they said they would look for me. I had a sign that said, “Thank you for sharing my art.” And Derek [Sanders], the lead singer, was singing and looked at me like: “You look familiar.” And then she nodded her head like, “Yeah, you’re that girl who always shares the art.” And I was losing my mind. I’m like, ‘Yes, yes, it’s me!’ Realizing that I am that person was just the highlight of my career for me right now because I have been a huge fan for them. “Oh Well, Oh Well” really helped me in a really dark time in my life, like most of the lyrics.

Shallow Pools are a smaller band – the funny thing about them is that I think they shared them [my piece] in a group chat, because slowly each member of the band commented on my piece one by one. It was really exciting to see that everyone notices and recognizes my work and talks about it to each other. It means a lot to me that they inspired me and I am inspiring them.

In a week, a month and a year, what do you hope people take away from your job?

In a week, I hope people take away – always, I hope people take away – that they are not alone, because I feel the world is such an isolating place, especially when it comes to emotions. People can feel so alone when bottled up in their emotions, especially now, people feel so cut off from the world. That’s why I try so hard to share my story, my life. I’m not afraid to talk about things that have happened to me because I think it’s important to share stories, because it makes people feel less alone.

In a month I would still like to continue to create jobs; I’d like to do more within my community: gain more exposure within my community, give more back to my community.

In a year, I would still like to give, make works of art, get more contacts with artists. I would love to do more local artists, like doing an album cover. I actually had some musicians who contacted me for the possibility of making videos with the lyrics and doing it in my artistic style.

Some people want free art. A lot of people don’t want to pay for art, and I understand that. I’m really trying to make art accessible to everyone. That’s why every single business card is a unique work of art, and no two are alike. I tried to create the idea of ​​art in the pocket, because I think it is very important that art becomes more accessible to people, because people can feel that art is guarded by the richest. I think we should try to make art as accessible as possible to people from all demographic groups because it is so enriching for the soul.

“Blink” by Nikki Douglas

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