Does that belong on a person or in a display case?
If you walk through the Oklahoma City studio of artist Nicole Moan, you will find yourself asking that very question. For Nicole, whose home itself is a blend of form and function, art is multi-faceted. Whether on display on a wall, a stand or worn on a body, her ceramic corsets are the definition of wearable art.
Born to artist parents, Nicole moved to Oklahoma City in 1990. She initially studied mechanics in an ill-fated attempt to stray from the family business, but eventually, her passion for art caught up with her. In 1999, she began working professionally as an artist, and in 2000, she created the first of her ceramic corsets, for which she is so widely known.
Nicole's pieces have been featured in many publications, exhibitions and runway shows throughout the nation, and even abroad. In addition to her corsets, Nicole specializes in custom ceramic tile work. Most of her midtown home is covered in it inside and out, a livable work of art she has been working on since 1999. From the handcrafted kitchen countertops and birds built-in to the mosaic tile backsplash to the natural wonderland that encompasses the entire bathroom, the home is truly unique. The living room floor features a mosaic tile "rug" depicting a group of musicians inspired by one of Nicole's father's paintings.
My house is my portfolio, as well, and how I create new ideas and make sure they work for projects outside my home.
Nicole shares her live-in portfolio with her wife of nearly four years, Dianeme Weidner, and her three daughters: Zoe, 19, Aztrid, 15, and Estrella, 12. All of them are artistic in some form. Dianeme is a popular local DJ. Aztrid works mostly with visual arts but also loves cooking. Zoie likes the visual arts, as well as musical instruments. Estrella likes to work with digital art and loves to dance.
Many of Nicole's corsets are custom commissions. The process of collaborating on such an individual piece is unique in that it requires the artist to see the client's vision in both the artistic and functional way before it is fired. It isn't like creating custom clothing out of fabric since Moan cannot alter the ceramic part of the corset after the fact. Many clients opt to add a custom skirt, headpiece and sometimes even jewelry to complete their vision.
When it comes to inspiration, Nicole says she finds it everywhere—from a specific theme in an upcoming show or a walk through nature.
Everything in life can be an inspiration. I don't believe in limits and have a habit of pushing against anything that tries to keep me from accomplishing my goals.
Through the years, Nicole has used these different sources of inspiration and the challenges that can come with them to evolve professionally and personally. From changing careers to creating an entire world of art around her at home, she has relied on her ability to think in innovative ways, no matter the circumstance.
People will always tell you that something won't work, which happened to me over and over, but until you try, you don't know that is true. I'm always trying new things, and I hope always to be learning and growing as an artist.
You can see and purchase Nicole's work on her website, as well as contact her for a custom consultation. You can see her pieces in-person at two upcoming events at the OKC Farmers Market (311 S. Klein Ave.). The Black and White Party will feature pieces by Nicole Sept. 23, and she will be the featured artist at "Walk this Way" to be held April 11, 2020.
Both events will benefit Other Options Inc. Founded 30 years ago by Cookie Arbuckle, Other Options provides a food pantry, resources, education and a humanitarian medication program. They serve at-risk individuals and families with a focus on those affected by HIV and AIDS. Other Options serves the entire state of Oklahoma and is volunteer- and donor-driven, with 85 cents out of every dollar going straight to the program. If you wish to help volunteer or donate directly, visit OtherOptionsOKC.org.