BeChicMagBeChicMag.com caught up with Nikki Yeager, a young local artist who recently moved back to New York City from living abroad. Peruse her Web site and you'll see that Nikki's themes include everything from NYC mixed media pieces, to portraits and facial close ups. If you really want to do justice to her amazing talent, we recommend you get up close and personal by visiting her two-week display at  Bar Nine (more details below). We were so struck by her talent and her energy that we couldn’t resist asking her a couple of questions. Nikki inspired me to continue working on my dreams and to invest in an affordable and beautiful piece of art for my living room. - Carolina Baker

BeChicMag: When did you start painting? Nikki: I started drawing when I was really young. My mom encouraged my drawing big time. I developed my style when I attended a commercial art program as a junior in high school. My mom suggested that I attend this program. Until a couple of years ago, I was odd about sharing my art. I would paint and paint and paint but refuse to let anyone see it (including my parents). By hiding my art, I never really talked about it with my family. I wouldn't let anyone bring it up.

What inspires you to paint? Myself. My mind works out the world around me through art. It's my way of keeping sane and organizing my thoughts and my perceptions.

How did you end up in Cambodia and the Bahamas? Did your experiences in Cambodia and the Bahamas affect your painting? Travel has been a spontaneous desire. I applied to and accepted the job in Cambodia because I knew it would get me closer to my chosen career. I also knew it would be an adventure. I didn't even know what continent Cambodia was on until I booked my flight. Arriving to the Bahamas was also another fluke. I found a job opening and two weeks later I was on a little seven seater plane to Freeport. Both countries affected my painting because they affected my life. My next series will be largely focused on both countries and my experiences in each. Anything that ends up in my thoughts ends up on my canvas.

What gave you the courage to drop out of college? Thank you for calling it courageous, most people call it naïve. I got into my dream college but once I started classes I realized I had taken a step further away from my goals rather than a step closer to them. I was doing a lot of unrelated work and I realized I could funnel that energy and that time into achieving my own dreams. For me, that seemed a more practical use of my time. In my opinion, it's not the degree that makes a person successful - it's the activity.

Who is your favorite artist? Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte.

What museum in NYC do you most recommend and draw the most inspiration from? I used to live by the Met. If I needed a little pick-me-up, I'd pay a small amount of the recommended donation and take a 10 minute stroll through the modern art section. I loved being able to pop in and visit Dali's whenever I needed some lovin'.

BeChicMag.com readers are invited to get a glimpse of Nikki's pieces at Bar Nine the week of November 18th. Opening night is on Nov. 21st after 8:30 p.m. Bar Nine, 807 Ninth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets.

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