Nicole Babaknia is a digital artist based in L.A. making mystical pop art collages. She remixes images to create abstract compositions and narratives. Her work is eccentric, thought-provoking, and powerfully feminine. By juxtaposing objects taken from numerous sources and contexts, Babaknia investigates assumptions about femininity, millennial culture, diversity, and technology.
An Interview with Nicole Babaknia:
Describe your aesthetic.
Surreal pop art and colorful collages.
What are your thoughts on identifying as a female artist?
Creating art is an empowering experience.
As a female artist, I have the chance to share my unique moods and perspectives with others without the need to
prove anything to anyone.
Female artists are not always respected the same way male artists are respected, especially in larger creative studios. However, today’s platforms like Instagram and creation tools like Photoshop give female artists more flexibility to pave their own paths in the art world.
Have you witnessed or experienced gender inequality in the art world?
There have been times where I have experienced gender inequality in the art world, but those are the experiences that led me to push more boundaries in my work. I believe as women we should all stand together to create more inclusivity in art and should help lift each others’ artwork to the spotlight.
What advice would you give yourself as a young artist early in your career?
It has only been about three years since I started making art, but I always remind myself and my friends to never hold back when creating. If there is something you want to create, you should go ahead and do it. Don’t just sit around and think about it. Don’t worry about being judged by others because there will always be an audience who will appreciate your art work for what it is. My art is a passion, not a job. I do not make art with the purpose of selling it. My art is a form of personal expression, so selling my work is just a perk.
Your collages are rich in diversity and texture—what is your process of finding the images and subjects you utilize?
Some of the images and subjects come from my personal photography and others come from magazine clippings or the internet. I try to look at everything around me that is open source as a possible subject. This way the potential elements of my art are endless.
How did you first become drawn to surrealism? Which artists influenced your creative development?
I like to experiment in my art and I rarely second guess the visual outcome. My work is a metaphor for diversity, and every element in my art had a place and story before it. Juxtaposing objects with different colors, textures, and characteristics allows for people to see things in the world in an abstract way. Nothing in life is perfect and the surrealism in my art brings out that imperfection. Female artists like Jen Stark and Eugenia Loli inspire some of my work. Andy Warhol, Picasso and Matisse are my favorite modern artists. Music is also one of my biggest inspirations.
You find inspiration in emerging technologies. What has recently fascinated you in the tech world?
The way we interact with the world and each other has changed dramatically because of the tech world. Some of my art symbolizes the relationship between people and the evolution of technology.
Your work challenges commercial representations of women. How do you see art as a means of questioning and transforming conventional narratives?
Many of my pieces depict female figures with their bodies in dreamy, curious states or scaled to positions of power. The woman is a central figure in my work and one focus of my art is to challenge the stereotype that submissive is more feminine. Strong and smart women are feminine and beautiful. Women who do not conform to the will of others can be more feminine than women who choose to conform. The way women in the media and internet are portrayed has impacted girls more today than ever. Women have more to them than just their physical appearances, which is something my art tries to portray.
How has the creative community in Los Angeles impacted you as an artist?
The LA creative community is so vibrant. It has opened doors for me to display my work in art shows that I believed were once unimaginable. I love collaborating with other artists and luckily the LA art community has challenged me to create more pieces whether digital collages, animations, or mixed media. I am especially inspired by the LA street art scene. Collaborating with friends in the art world has taught me so much.
To see more of Nicole Babaknia’s work, follow her on Instagram @niccobabsart and check out her website at niccobabs.com.