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What’s Your Story?: Nicole Tattersall

Where do you currently reside?

I’ve lived in Melbourne, Australia for all my life. Melbourne has a great art community and the surf is good if you’re willing to drive an hour or two for it.

How young were you when you started to draw and create art?

I can remember as a child drawing horses and sticking them to my walls, I’ve always either been drawing or playing with paints, spending my pocket money on craft and art supplies.

In Highschool I can recall people telling me I should be an artist and I’d reply back “Artists don’t earn enough”. Times really have changed since then, there are so many more opportunities out there for artists.

What influences your artwork?

A major underlying theme in my work is the conservation of the environment and the creatures in which we share the planet with. I also touch on the topic of using ones own imagination to create.

I’ve created works for animal rights groups including WSPA, which I enjoyed doing.

Several years ago I started to use my own photography for my stencil works. This was to add an extra layer of my own style and uniqueness to my work.

How long have you surfed for?

My mum was a swimming teacher and my dad was always on the water, I could pretty much swim before I could walk. When I was a young teenager I was training to try out for the Pan Pacifics in freestyle, when it came to the crunch I threw in the towel (mind the pun). Though my swimming coach hadn’t given up on me just yet and recommended I might like to try life saving. I was relatively good in the iron women, board and ski races.

As a teenager I was interested in surfing and only been to a few lessons. It was when I turned 18 and I had my own car I bought myself a surfboard from off the shelf. From memory I think it was a 7’10”, a good board to learn on. I taught myself how to surf from then on.

At what point did your passion for sport and art collide?

In 2004 I bought my first custom made surfboard, it was shaped by Scott Peberdy at Outereef in San Remo, Phillip Island. Little did either of us know at the time that this would led on to him shaping all my boards from then on. I didn’t want a plain white board like my last one, I wanted a board that showed a bit of my own personality. I designed the spray job and Scott painted it.

The following year I had my second board made by Scott, this was about the time I was developing an interest in stencil art. I cut my first ever stencil for this board, a simple palm tree. Had I of known what I know now I would have used a different material to cut the stencil. I still have it, it is rolled up in my studio. Several years later when surfing at Winkipop I had a guy bail in front me and the fin of his board went straight through the top of my board. I’ll never forget the sound of a fin going through fiber glass and then foam. The board was repaired and several years latter was given another spray job, a collaborative effort between myself and my partner. Thanks to him I have these mechanical dragonflies on it now.

I started to seriously exhibit my artwork in 2006, with my first art exhibition as an adult at the Surfing World Museum in Torquay (home of Bells Beach), it was a group exhibition titled Artsticks 2. The surfboard I painted for the exhibition was a broken board that once belonged to a friend’s brother. On it in a comic-book-like-style I told the story of how the board become broken. I’ve since painted over the original piece.

I also started putting my artwork in cafes and spaces around where I was going for a surf. This I found prepared me for when I started to exhibit latter on in Melbourne.

Then came along my first fish in 2008, this was also around the time I met Guz, a stencil artists from Brisbane. We were painting at an event in Leongatha and out came a stencil, the exact stencil I saw at the 2006 Melbourne Stencil Festival that made me think, “Wow, I think I can give stenciling a go”. It was only fitting I have that same stencil on my board. He jumped at the opportunity. That is how I ended up with a topless chick holding a gun sprayed in pink on one of my boards.

My most recent board, I had made in 2012 and it had sat for almost 12 months before I painted it. During this time my surfing buddy and very close friend passed away unexpectedly. This made painting the board extremely difficult and going for my first solo surf since her passing even harder. I recieved a message that the surf at Phillip Island was going to be exceptionally good later that week and I should get out there, so I sucked it up and embarked on painting the board, this time it was just me painting it. I picked one of my Orca stencils and got to work. On the bottom of the board is a little deer head in memory of my friend. My first surf on that board was amazing, I spent a solid 3 hours out in the water and you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face afterwards.

Apart from art and surfing what else is important to you?

My friends and family are important to me for so many reasons, it’s great to have such an awesome network of people around you.

Being the editor of CURVY is a highlight me, I love what it stands for – creatively inspiring creative women. It is great to be able to share what other creative women are doing.

I’m also a bit of social media nerd and I love to blog, sharing what inspires me and the things that are going on in my life.

What advice would you give any young female artist or athlete?

Be prepared for failure, there are times when things just will not go your way. You have to learn from those moments and try again. Throughout my artistic career I’ve had many of those moments and I embrace them as much as I would a success.

Check out Nicole’s video which shows you how to stencil artwork onto your surfboard!



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