"For I Art You, I really wanted to portray Nick in a very iconic way. Especially because he mentioned that he does not see himself as an artist/designer but more as a maker/woodworker, I thought it would be fun to portray him as a modern icon - the woodworker as a hero, someone who has worked hard to get where he is and does not take any of it for granted. The drawing is made by hand, using black ink pens on watercolor paper.
Funny fact: because I wanted to incorporate the wood grain texture, I e-mailed Nick to ask what his favorite wood type was. He replied that that was a very hard question and said it would be like asking which one of his kids was his favorite. :D He did give me a (long;)) list of woods that he loves to work with. The woodgrain I chose to draw is loosely based on red cedar, one of the wood types on his list. Nick Christensen and his wife Kimber own Little Sapling Toys, an online shop selling beautifully crafted wooden toys. They launched their business 8 years ago. Nick has a background in historic preservation and while he was in school, him and his wife started playing around with different business ideas. They launched their shop on Etsy and it quickly became a success.
Nick and his wife come up for ideas for a toy and perfect them into a product that is beautiful, user friendly and can be made at an affordable price point. Nick doesn't see himself as an artist. At all. Not even a designer. He sees himself more as a maker. The thing is, I don't think he needs a label and it shows you can be a success story without having to be defined as one or the other. His toys are works of art in themselves, beautifully designed, kid friendly and affordable - all in one.
At the moment Nick, his wife Kimber and their 3 kids (and brand new dog) live in Utah. The wood workshop is in their home and the kids are home schooled, which means they get to spend time a lot of quality time together as a family. It sounds like a fairytale come true and it shows that with the right plan, dedication, talent and support from your family, you can really make it work. For me personally as someone who is just getting her feet wet in the artistic world, this is a huge inspiration and makes me hopeful for my own creative future.
What I found very inspiring, is that Nick and Kimber have a very business savvy approach. They don't only want to make things, but they want the consumer to have a great experience for a good price. Nick said he's always thinking about making things quicker and cheaper, without compromising quality. I think it's one of the reasons Little Sapling Toys is so successful - they support their employees and their families. Not only are their toys great, but they present their products in a beautiful way, make them stand out both in design and quality, pay attention to detail in both their brand and packaging as well and use Etsy and social media in a way that works. I think a lot of artists and makers struggle with this. It's one thing to make something that is beautiful, but it can be challenging to market your product the right way and get noticed. To me it seems that Nick and Kimber have found the perfect balance that so many of us aspire to find."
Natalie Ciccoricco & Nick Christensen
Portrait of Nick Christensen By Natalie Ciccoricco
"These are a pair of matching crotchet hooks. The lighter one is beech wood which is a wood common in Natalie's native Holland. The darker one is made from claro walnut a wood native to northern California, where Natalie currently resides. While Natalie is a talented illustrator and collage artist she mentioned to me several times that her favorite creative outlet is crotchet.
Natalie has always had a background in art, but took up drawing, illustration and collage work since she moved to the US. It has been a big influence in her life. She studied art in Holland but wasn't producing there The two woods represent two main stages in Natalie's life. They also represent the contrast in those two stages
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to get to know Natalie and share her portrait."