Art and Healing on the Mountain: An interview with Artist Nicole Buffett
Local Topanga artist Nicole Buffett is an activist and holistic healer. Nicole’s paintings reflect a shamanic visioning grounded in healing and expansion of consciousness. To Nicole, making art is the creation of a sacred object, a means of carrying an energy and message between the maker and the world. Having been raised in a family of visionaries and creative professionals, Nicole feels it is part of her natural legacy and honor to contribute to our world and society through the arts.
(JA) When did you discover Topanga?
(NB) I discovered Topanga almost twenty years ago. Being a native Los Angelino and growing up here in LA, Topanga has always been a sweet escape from the city and a haven of like-minded free-spirited people. Before I became a resident of Topanga, visiting was always a retreat into a feeling of freedom, healing and adventure. Upon returning to my home town from having lived and completing my Masters of Fine Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, I always knew that I wanted to lay roots down in this magical place.
(JA) What is the role that art plays in your life?
(NB) Art is the axis point in my wheel of life. It is both the lens and mirror through which I see and experience life. Art is a language that speaks directly to the place of feeling and raw emotion. Art definitely plays the role of teacher and friend. Art will always get me to where I need to be and is my constant companion in times of both great joy and sadness.
(JA) How is art a healing process?
(NB) Art is undeniably one of the most powerful healing processes there is. In the simplest of terms, it just makes me happy. I’ve heard a wise person say that happiness is one of the greatest of virtues. So, I trust Art. Art takes anything and everything, and I mean ANYTHING and turns it into something meaningful and beautiful. This could be a feeling, or something lingering below the surface of our conscious mind waiting to be revealed. Art shows us who we are. When we look at ourselves with radical honesty, we then can begin to change and heal the places that need to be brought into the light, with love, with compassion, as art itself. Art is the ultimate transmutator illuminating the shadows. Art is interdimensional alchemy.
(JA) Who has had a large impact in your artistic journey?
(NB) The people that have had the largest impact on my life are my amazing parents and grandparents. My parents gave me the creative environment in which to thrive. Both of my parents being musicians, they modeled for me what it looked like to be wildly creative and also be professional. They normalized being a working artist. They raised me with the principles of being open minded, conscientious and having empathy. Uniqueness was something celebrated in our bohemian home, which was also a recording studio, so if you were making music with my parents, you were having dinner with us.
My grandparents taught me the value of philanthropy and service. My grandmother had the personal freedom to follow her heart, make music and live in her favorite city, San Francisco. She touched many lives. It was during the time of the HIV epidemic in the LGBT community of SF that my grandmother began philanthropic and personal efforts with rehabilitation, helping with the dying process and bringing awareness to this serious issue that affected so many beloved friends and members of our immediate community. My grandfather on the other hand, stayed in Omaha and continued to pursue his visionary dreams which happened to be building a little company called Berkshire Hathaway.
Luckily for him, it required minimal travel, just nose to the newspaper and lots of his favorite fuel, cheeseburgers and cherry cokes. Not only did my grandparents introduce me to the literary work of Joseph Campbell, the Dalai Lama and Zen Buddhism, they also championed me and sponsored my continued education as an artist.
(JA) Where do you want to see your artwork living in the community?
(NB) I want to see my work living in people’s hearts and homes. I want to see my work inspiring people and reminding them of the beauty and light that is within them and their lives. I want my work to spark interesting conversations, curious thoughts and mystical revelations. I want my work to act like every day guardian angels nudging us back towards wholeness and back towards our true selves.
(JA) Why is it important to work with nonprofits?
(NB) It’s important to work with nonprofits because it allows my work to serve more, connect to more than what it could possibly do on its own. Nonprofit communities extend the reach of my arm (and hand!) I love connecting energy, so, working with nonprofits extends that reach even further. I am honored to work alongside the nonprofit community who I deeply respect. My wish is to inspire others and be in service to the world.
A selection of Nicole’s artwork is currently on display at local boutique, Moona Star Collective. You can follow Nicole’s creative journey on Instagram @nicolebuffettart. Nicole is celebrating an upcoming art exhibition and fundraiser for nonprofit organization, Center for Council, December 3 through the 10 at artpal.com/centerforcouncil. She explains that each unique piece represents the power of bringing together elements in a united whole. Center for Council, “delivers programs and trainings that promote communication, enhance well-being, build community, and foster compassion. Our work supports a sustainable shift toward a more cooperative, creative, and engaged culture, transforming relationships, strengthening teamwork, fostering a sense of inclusion, and supporting health and wellbeing.”
This video, taken from NicoleBuffet.com, is posted here with permission from the artist.