We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Merizalde and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I try to remind myself of the potential outcomes when taking risks. For me, it was giving up a steady income at an office job in pursuit of doing what I love. I have only been on this new career path for a few months, but it has already drastically changed my life. I feel excited to create new work, meet other artists and develop as a creator. Any risk I’ve taken as a freelance artist that doesn’t pay off has allowed me to grow and motivate myself to work harder.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My current style utilizes bright, bold colors, round shapes and simple figures. My paintings are inspired by my cultural identity, memories and historical and mythological figures. I painted my first mural in June, and I’m proud of the amount I’ve accomplished within those six months. I started painting on large wood planks, and then went on to be accepted into Cabbagetown’s Stack Squares. That one event allowed me to meet an incredible group of artists, which then lead to friendships and future mural opportunities. The most challenging thing has been pushing through self doubt and reminding myself that I have a story to tell and a unique perspective to share. Meeting other artists has helped with that self doubt, as everyone is incredibly uplifting and supportive of each other. There is a strong sense of community, and there’s definitely room for everyone to bring their unique talents and vision to the Atlanta art scene.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there is no one path to success. There are so many avenues to explore, whether it be through murals, galleries, art fairs, opening your own shop, and so much more. You’ve just got to keep putting your work out there, in all the ways you can and there will be people who connect with it and appreciate your vision.

With my own brand, I’d want people to experience a sense of calm or comfort when viewing my work. Painting has been therapeutic for me, and my paintings tend to lean into figures that are surrounded by flowers and colorful patterns. I’d hope that others can view my work and have some sort of positive emotive response.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d definitely have to walk through Cabbagetown and view the long row of murals that are constantly changing, then cross over and walk on the Beltline. For lunch, there’d need to be some delicious Southern food, like Homegrown. For an eventful night, I’d take them to Lips for a drag show, then next door to Roc South for dinner. A more relaxing day in town could be spent having a picnic in Fourth Ward Park and walking through art galleries like Cat Eye Creative, which is filled with work from local artists!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time through the help two other muralists, Drew Borders (@drewborders.art) and Cameron (@yoyocam)

Instagram: @zaldepaints

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