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An artistic collaborative of artists, designers, makers and craftsmen focused on the creation of unique experiences and conceptual environments.  Building moments to be explored and remembered through the conception and creation of custom art installations, interior design, events, set design, styling & visual merchandising.

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Filtering by Category: Inspiration

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Nikole Nelson

 Photos by Nikole Nelson

Photos by Nikole Nelson

Whether climbing, hugging, drawing inspiration from them or using their branches in my artwork - trees have always spoken to me. They capture my artistic consciousness and whisper legends in the winds. Rainbow eucalyptus is one of my favorite species. Each trunk holds a unique composition with brilliant shades of purple, blue, green, coral and orange.  As a child in Maui I thought fairies had painted them (in fact maybe I still do) - you can't help but feel magic in their presence. I stumbled on these beauties yesterday in the midst of a gorgeous botanical garden and had to share. Happy Aloha Friday!

Images taken at Botanical World Adventures in Hakalua, Island of Hawaii.

Waimanalo: Dilapidated Beauty

Nikole Nelson

My birthday adventure: Goin country. Went on the hunt for inspiration and discovered a hidden gem just waiting to be explored. An expansive, dilapidated Waimanalo green house and nursery, secret garden heaven! I find my inspiration, treasures and building materials in the most amazing places. Getting dirty, climbing through over grown layers of untamed nature, discovering all the while...Indiana Jones style! Best birthday ever! 

Chelsea Galleries: Highlights

Nikole Nelson

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Photos by Nikole Nelson

With half frozen hands and an iphone camera faithfully ready to capture anything, I made a mad dash through Chelsea's art district. Unfortunately during this whirlwind 2 minute tour, I failed to grab the names of these artists. Rookie move. Regardless I still wanted to share my favorite pieces from this crazy adventure. Grandiose, massive works, that humble the viewer with their sheer presence. Gorgeous experience. NYC, December 2013.

Street Art: NYC

Nikole Nelson

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Photos by Nikole Nelson

For me street art never gets old. It is gritty, down and dirty and conveys the pulse of the city with every wheat pasted, spray painted layer. And no one does it better than NYC. These are a few of my favorite finds from a recent trip out East. Enjoy the mix of crazy, raw expression, sexuality and pure insanity! I love you New York! 

Gary Graham & Phantom Limb

Nikole Nelson

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Gary Graham, Tribeca, NYC. Interior design modeled to look like the back stage of BAM - the experience is executed to perfection. You really do feel as if a performace is about to break out. Masks by Phantom Limb Company. 

Ni'ihau Shell Leis: A May Day Tribute

Nikole Nelson

Intricate patterns, diverse styles and vivid colors of the Ni'ihau shell leis.

Aerial view of Ni'ihau.

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Hawaiian Queen Emma wearing multiple strands of Ivory colored Ni'ihau leis.

Shells are first gathered and sorted for color and size.

Each shell is cleaned of debris, pierced and strung.

I own this style and LOVE it. Very sacred to me.

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Layered shells form unique texture.

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Photograph by Tomas del Amo

As a young girl I was fasinated by the layered shell patterns of the Ni'ihau leis and find myself even more intrigued today. If you have never heard of Ni'ihau your not alone. Nick named The Forbidden Isle visitors to this part of the Hawaiian chain are rare. Privately owned, the Hawaiian traditions, language and culture are still very much alive.

In celebration of May Day we take a moment and pay tribute to the intricate beauty of the Ni'ihau shell lei. Ni'ihau holds some of the greatest shell craftsmen known. The island is very dry and lacks enough rainfall to support the blossoms of the traditional flower lei; the shell lei served as an exquisided substitue. 

I will be forever in awe of the artisans who create these timeless pieces. Their patience is astounding. Those shells are tiny! 

Happy May Day and A hui ho! 

Cowgirl up!

Nikole Nelson

Brilliant inspiration courtesy of Nachtstucke

Never room 4 average here. If you work with us, you experience excellence on the highest collaborative level possible. You will get dirty, you will work long tedious hours, you will bleed and then you will feel the overwhelming power of artistic creation and success. It's like running a marathon...the finish line is soooo close...can you taste it? 

The Art of Surf Photography

Nikole Nelson

Trent Mitchell Photography

LIFE Magazine Archives via SECRETFORTS

Chris Burkard Photo

Brian Bielmann Photography

The foundation of my appreciation for photography was rooted within the pages of my Dad’s Surfer magazines at age 6. From the first moment I saw the beauty of the ocean I loved captured in photographic perfection I was transfixed. Growing up on the beaches of Hawaii and California the surf culture was at the heart life. I have vivid high school memories of my friend Monika helping me plaster my room with surf posters - my teenage version of art appreciation.

For those who live for the sound of the crashing waves you know it is not just about the end result. I have hiked through extremely rural areas, clinging to cliffs just to watch surfing and be close to the energy. Surf photography goes beyond the ride capturing the journey and stillness of nature and mans commune.

These photographers have such passion for their discipline they are often in life threatening situations waiting to immortalize the perfect wave. Of course there is no risk of drowning standing shore side with a telephoto lens, but the surf photographer’s job description does not stop there. Using watertight photography equipment they slip into fins and wetsuits, dive in and position themselves just above water level, close to the impact zone of the wave - ouch. Other techniques involve board-mounted cameras, boats, outriggers, canoes, jet skies and even helicopters. Sounds like a fun day at the office!

Junkin' in PA

Nikole Nelson

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Some trips are legendary and the Junkin' in PA caravan was one of them. On board was Susan and William Brinson of House of Brinson, Michelle Carangi from Holley & Gill, Interiors guru Jonathan Legate and one sexy Greek...James Karabelas.

There is nothing that makes me more elated than treasure hunting in a rickety old barn. Add a group of talented, knowledgeable design friends and magic is born! Susan and Jonathan are antiquing geniuses; every foreign object I discovered they would instantly have a description of its original use, time period and worth. It was like being on one of those antiquing road shows!

Of course no barn adventure can be complete without the discovery of family secrets, grandmas racey media and "exercise" equipment and a few stray rodents. You take the good with the "So did NOT want to see that" and in the end you have a stash of beautiful finds.

My favorite purchase of the day was an antique refrigerator box that can hang on the wall. The best part - it's the perfect size to house all my saws! It's going to be an awesome addition to the studio. Special thanks to William and Susan for organizing the best Saturday ever.

Check the story out in full at House of Brinson. Enjoy!

Ode to Opera, Wings and All Things Leventi

Nikole Nelson

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Curtain, Palais Garnier, Paris, France, 2009Palais Garnier, Paris, France, 2009Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley Junction, California, 2009Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest, Romania, 2007Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain, 2009TWA Flight Center by Eero Sarrinen

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Photographer David Leventi

If you are an artist, designer or creative like myself, you will understand that there is a feeling which drives us. The moment you begin creating, you see lines converge into compositions and designs form, the visual projections of what our mind is capable of creating. You own it. You feel it. You bring it into reality.

May I introduce photographer David Leventi. At center stage, camera perched at attention, the air thick with the voices of history, his mind races. With the view of an opera singer, he takes in the mass beauty, painted trompe l’oeil ceilings, private boxes and repetition of chairs an audience would fill. Richly draped fabrics tower above his head, the chandelier glows, and architectural acoustic perfection echoes.

He wants it all. His photo will surround you, revealing all levels of the space, catching what the naked eye is unable to. His lenses focused, the photographic beauty begins.

Leventi explains, “…the light in the opera house strikes each of these features and returns to the camera, affixing them to film. Lit solely by the existing chandeliers and lamps…” The collection: Bjoerling’s Larynx, records the interiors of 40 world-famous opera houses in Europe and the Americas.

Recently, Leventi photographed the renovation of the TWA Flight Center by Eero Sarrinen at JFK. The images were featured in the New York Times Magazine. I immediately recognized David’s architectural perspective reflected in the textures of the structures concrete and the images’ all-encompassing feel.

Leventi portrayed the experience for me: “I can't begin to describe what it was like to stand in his futuristic masterpiece alone. It reminded me of a chapel to air travel. I knew that the building had been photographed by many photographers in the past, but I wanted to do something unique. The pictures that The New York Times Magazine published are interesting because they show the texture of the tile within an emblematic shot of the space. It's a two for one deal!” 

Heads-up Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, and architects of the world - If you’ve got something grand, this man should be photographing it. His work is breathtaking.