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October 19, 2016

Artist in Residence Spotlight: Fresh and New


nicole patrickThis post is a part of a series of posts from UMS Artists in Residence

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Nicole has sought a diverse musical training with the intention of exploring a limitless life through the arts. As a member of the Michigan Percussion Quartet she performed and organized an outreach tour throughout South Africa. In 2014, Nicole was a recipient of the International Institute Individual Fellowship grant, which allowed her to travel to Berlin to work alongside Tanz Tangente Dance Company.

“It’s lighter than you think.”

This tiny snippet from John Cage’s 10 Rules for Student and Teacher is one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever come across.  I’m fresh out of school and feel like someone who’s just eliminated meat or gluten from her diet and finds new endless sorts of energy. Or perhaps like someone who’s started to do yoga and can turn her neck enough to look behind her and sit cross-legged without every part of her leg going numb for the first time in her life. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m able to approach my projects these days with freshness, excitement, and questions… and it’s THE BEST.

I’m very fortunate to have just returned from a summer working in Aspen, Colorado. Even though I grew up under the Miami sun, I’ve never spent more time outside than I did these past few months. Every day I was going on hikes beyond timberlines at 12,000 feet elevation and trying my best to take deep full breaths while looking at the never-ending mountain tops that surrounded me. I couldn’t help but smile inside and out at the natural beauty that had barely been groomed by humans. So, I guess I could say that’s a little bit about what inspires my work.  I’d like my projects to feel as if they have natural beauty, with only the tiniest bit of help from humans.

sawatch range
Photo: Sawatch Range Just South of Aspen, Colorado. Photo by Ken Lund.

Aside from the mountains, anytime I come across mind-blowing projects, whether in person or through the Internet, these gems inspire me most. The reason I keep making work is that I hope that the happiness, inspiration, and lightness I feel when I find these projects might transfer to someone else coming across my work.

This is why I love the idea of renegade. Here’s my final tangent for this blog: When I visit my friend at his coffee shop, we always laugh the moment I step up to the counter because he knows exactly what I’m thinking: Do I order some wacky “fun drink” concoction or my go-to classic, a dirty chai.  Most times, I get too excited by the prospect of finding a new favorite drink, so I end up trying something along the lines of a mocha-soy-espresso-cold-brew-nitro-cortado with a dollop of cinnamon on top. At that point, it’s more about getting through the 17 ingredients than savoring every sip. I always wonder what new territories are out there and I love to discover them. As a supporter, a participant, and a creator of art, I feel that that’s the best way I can fit into this world.

In these prime weeks of fall, I will be visiting Pictured Rocks for the first time and hopefully catching some beautiful changing colors. I will be backpacking with friends and on the drive up, we will probably listen to the new Bon Iver album many times. I’m lucky enough to have time for a trip like this, but I urge you at least to take a walk in the beauty that surrounds us here in this magical state and try to find something new.

Follow this blog for more from our artists in residence as they attend Renegade performances this season.