FEATURED ARTIST: Nicole Kallenberg

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My name is Nicole Kallenberg, my sign is Libra, I grew up in San Antonio and Austin, TX. I have worked as a full time artist in New Orleans and I just moved to South Carolina a few months ago due to a job opportunity my husband took. I create figurative works using either oils or watercolors.

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I started painting at the age of 5. I was always drawing, painting or making something as soon as I could walk pretty much. I didn’t play with dolls, I played with crayons, pencils, paints and legos. Oils are my favorite medium and I am still working hard at trying to master the medium. I paint mostly figurative for a couple of reasons:

1) I did not artistically have a grasp on the human form until I was 25 and I wasn’t able to consistently execute the human form until I was 28. The human face is the most recognizable thing to us and 1 wrong brush stroke can ruin a painting, so I love the challenge.

2) I like to tell stories with my art that others can relate to, rather than having a connection to a place or thing, I like to make the connection with a feeling.


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You can see and purchase my art at: www.NicoleKallenberg.com.

Here you can get to know me and my artistic process.

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/nicolekallenberg

What sets me apart is my inspiration combined with my S. Texas roots. I love and admire the classic Italian and Dutch Renaissance painters but I have been formally trained in South Texas with heavy Mexican influence. So with me you get a feminine take on a Renaissance piece done in vibrant colors so commonly used in Mexican art.

I’m not sure exactly what I get from being an artist, maybe just the joy I get from doing it. It has always been a part of my life, I never had to find or discover art, it has just always been there. Sometimes I think I should have gone into health care and try to save the world, but there are times when my paintings make people stop in their tracks, and sometimes even cry. I guess I want people to think about it, or relate to it. Kind of like how a song can bring you back to a place or a feeling, and I want people to know they are not alone, I have been there too.

I get my inspiration not only from my life, but from the lives of people around me. Sometimes the right song can inspire me as well. I particularly like to paint from the perspective of a female, we live completely different lives than that of our male counterparts. I like to paint about feminine empowerment. For example, I was inspired by Disney princesses and put them in context of the real world modern woman. I did a painting of Cinderella throwing her glass slipper over her shoulder titled “I’m Not Waiting for Prince Charming”. Basically Cinderella has decided to lose her virginity, even though she knows this man is no prince and she is not going to marry him. I also did a painting titled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” with Snow White (Eve) sitting on the floor as if she was drunk, with one bite out of the apple. Let’s face it, we all bite the wrong apple a time or two. The apple is a symbol of sweet, sour addiction kind of like the way I am with my iPhone.  🙂

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The weirdest piece I painted is titled “Mayor of the Night”. It is a painting of Leslie Cochran a homeless transvestite who was well known in Austin. He ran for mayor once and was even a guest on David Letterman. I would see him often in downtown Austin. A couple of years ago, some guys beat him up for no reason and Leslie ended up in a coma and later died. With the help of Leslie’s friends and Book People we made posters of my painting in an effort to raise money to cover some of his medical costs. Leslie was so popular, donations came flooding into the hospital and his care was 100% paid for by Austin residents.


When it comes to my art you either love it or you hate it. There is a particular group of people that don’t like my art and they make it well known to me. This is okay, because at least I got them to notice it and talk about it. But many people connect to the stories and many artists like to ask me about my technique.

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My advice is just to enjoy what you are making. If you want to be a serious artist and play the “Art Game” you have to have a very thick skin and you have to be very good at what you do and do it differently than everybody else. I have shown all over the US including NYC and I have been in many print publications and my art has even been on TV. But I still get 100 “no’s” for every 1 “yes”.

My style is a mix of Carravaggio and Monet with a vibrant color palette of Mexican influence.
No immediate future plans at the moment, just plugging away daily to become a better artist.


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