Nicole Cooke and her Split Fountain Exhibition

Nicole Cooke Buffalo

Tell us about you and your craft

“I’m a professional photographer and graphic designer by trade. I have always been interested in various types of process-based visual art. Photography will always be my first love; sparked by the ability to freeze time and sealed by the alchemy of the darkroom. I discovered printmaking in college while working on a project where I was trying to further extend the darkroom process by exposing my photos onto plates and screens, then printing them on various surfaces. Once I pulled my first edition, I knew there was no going back. I started to use printmaking as a way to add type that I either drew or carved by hand to prints of my photographs, so it became clear that letterpress was the perfect medium for me.”

Nicole Cooke Buffalo
Nicole Cooke Buffalo

“I had the fortune of taking my first letterpress class with Chris Fritton, also known as The Itinerant Printer, at the Western New York Book Arts Center. Nearly 2 years later, I have printed 10 letterpress editions, and have no plans to slow down. I am so grateful to be able to print at WNYBAC regularly, and learn from the fabulous folks who work there. There are not a lot of communities who are lucky enough to have a place like this, so I try not to take it for granted.”

“My craft is constantly evolving and I am endlessly eager to learn something new, especially in relation to art and my creative process. This year I challenged myself to learn a new skill, and I used Sugar City’s Fun-A-Day project to try and teach myself hand lettering by creating a new piece every day for a month. I wanted to focus on song lyrics, and my Instagram followers actually chose the lines I would practice each day by commenting with the song they wanted to see next. Since that project, I have continued practicing brush lettering as well as pointed pen calligraphy, both of which are represented in my upcoming exhibit at ShopCraft, titled “Split Fountain” in reference to the use of multiple inks at once.”

“My exhibition Split Fountain opens Friday, October 7th at ShopCraft, which is located inside Thin Ice at 719 Elmwood Avenue, from 6pm – 9pm. It will feature some of my letterpress prints, as well as original brush lettering and calligraphy pieces, and will be on display through November 27th. I hope you can join us for the reception!”

Nicole Cooke Buffalo

Where do you find your inspiration?

“I find a lot of my inspiration in words. A compelling song lyric, a great conversation with a friend, a thought-provoking lecture, a poignant quote, or even something I overhear in the street could be the basis for my next project. I am particularly inspired by Buffalo because there are so many incredible people here making great artwork, crushing their career goals, and supporting their friends in other endeavors. I feel inspired just being around people who are finding innovative ways to chase the things that fulfill them.”

Your go-to words of encouragement

“I am so, so lucky to be a part of an incredibly supportive network of friends and family. I am grateful every day to have so many amazing people to run ideas by, or work through challenges with, or vent to when I need it. They are what really keeps me going when I’m struggling and I am constantly thankful for that.”

What would you tell a younger version of yourself?

Nicole Cooke Buffalo“I would tell a younger version of myself the same thing I tell my current version of myself, which is: try to stop being so hard on yourself. Things will work out fine even if they don’t work out according to plan.”

Favorite Buffalo stuff

My list of favorite Buffalo stuff could go in infinitely but I would love to give a shout out to my partner in life and crime, Mike West, who is an amazing graphic designer and illustrator. He is part of a collaborative gallery and retail space called Pine Apple Co., along with a few other really talented artists.

Nicole Cooke Buffalo
Nicole Cooke Buffalo

Anything else?

I would love to thank some of the folks who helped make this show possible: Christa and Megan at ShopCraft for giving me the opportunity to have my show at their beautiful space as well as all of their support in the process, Cory Perla at The Public and Beth Insalaco at Yeah Buffalo for helping to spread the word, Melissa and Rosemary at WNYBAC for being great friends and proofreading endless prints, and my teammates at Valu Home Centers who have graciously listened to me talk about this for the last month or so. THANK YOU!

Nicole Cooke Buffalo

What do you think?

Written by Sam @ yeahBuffalo
Sam is co-founder of Yeah! Buffalo as well as Owner of theBREWROOM, a Buffalo NY based internet marketing company. Follow Sam : @SamInsalaco