Barbi Niblick

ABSTRACT ARTIST

It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered my love and appreciation for art and design. I mean, I always loved Van Gogh, but that’s sort of cliché, right? My interest started smoldering when I was designing web graphics for a video game fan site and quickly became obsessed with creating in Photoshop. I received a lot of positive feedback on my work and suddenly wanted a career change to graphic design or video game design. Neither happened. Fast forward to 2012 and in an effort to pursue my dream, I started a college program for Digital Media. It was during a BioArt class, of all places, that the seed was planted. My professor was explaining the importance, and validity of BioArt and to draw a comparison, pointed to the abstract pieces on the wall and told an anecdote to explain how some people don’t find value in work that appears so simple. She explained that she often responds to those comments with a question – If you think it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?

That challenge tumbled over and over in my mind, and as I contemplated the question, I realized the only reason I ever had for not painting was simply that I thought I couldn’t. The next day I made my first trip to Arizona Art Supply. I was overwhelmed by all of the available supplies and had no idea where to start. I thought that in order to be a good artist there had to be some magical formula that, if followed precisely using particular brands of paint and specialized brushes, would result in easy masterpieces. I went home that day with just a starter kit of acrylic paint, a canvas, and a few cheap brushes.

Have you ever looked back on your past self and just shook your head thinking – wow, that was silly? I do that a lot.

Despite all of the time I spent laboring over “the right” brushes, I painted my first piece entirely with my hands. It was interesting to connect with creating in that way, and I really believe I fell in love with painting because of that experience. There was just something enchanting about engaging tactile sense simultaneously with sight that really engulfed me, and at that moment, I felt like I became part of the painting. 

I wasn't able to continue school after that semester, so my creative education was largely self-directed until late spring of 2018 when I met my mentor and now friend, Jed. He has been my Sensei of All Things Art, and his humble patience coupled with his ability to answer the question, “why” has helped me grow tremendously over the past year. With Jed’s mentoring and the unbelievable amount of support from my incredible husband, I have accomplished more in the past eight months than I have in the past five years. Some of these accomplishments include being accepted to show at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, receiving a request to display my work at the newly renovated Renaissance Square office towers in downtown Phoenix, and in November, was invited to participate in a local art walk at City North in the Desert Ridge area. All of these experiences continue to fuel my drive to learn, and I have become fiercely determined to develop my passion into something that is self-sustaining.


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