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How COVID-19 Can Impact The Art You Create in The Future: Lessons on Art Puberty From Studio Technician Nicole Brunel

Nicole Brunel is getting closer to making art that feels more true to themself. For creatives, this is a feeling that is mutual across the board. Meet Nicole Brunel, a Digital Fabrication, Electronics and Woodworking Studio Technician at Launchpad, who has been working on some interesting virtual projects during COVID-19.

In particular, the virtual project “Every Worm Deserves a Mansion” is a mix between “stand-up comedy + apocalypse + non-binary gender = ?,” Brunel explains.

“I usually choose a few topics that are important or I’m curious about and smush them together to see how they might relate. I make little equations that I want to solve.”

Equations have been a big part of Nicole’s Artist journey; Adding art college, dividing time to teach themself video techniques, while multiplying the various hats worn as a teacher, Launchpad Digital Fabrication studio technician, and museum preparator simultaneously. Although the load was heavy, they learned to manage their resources.

“In undergrad at the Alberta University for the Arts, I learned woodworking from making sculpture and electronics from making interactive and sound art. I continued with sculpture during my master’s program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and got more into digital media.”

As with many artists, a finished project is never a finished project, there’s usually a nagging feeling of never being complete. I’m not proud of anything and I mostly feel shame and disappointment when I finish projects!” They revealed. Nicole calls this, Art Puberty.

“It took me about eight years as a musician to feel proud of a song I wrote. That said I do like this one sculpture I made in 2018 called “Hyper” because I don’t fully get it and, I think that’s because it connects to work I will make in the future.” For artists that have been stressing over unfinished projects, relieve yourself of the pressure to produce a masterpiece at this time.


 …it connects to work I will make in the future.


So we asked Nicole what projects they have been working on while in COVID-19 isolation.

“I spent the first few weeks working on that virtual worm installation “Every Worm Deserves a Mansion,” learning how to do taxes for artists, and organizing my thousands of digital photos into folders. But now I’m excited to say I recently got a Canada Council project grant to fund my next installation!” Nicole enthusiastically mentions. 

“I turned my living room into a studio last year so I can start working on it from home now. I’m planning to use sculpture, coding and music to develop a new theory (which arose from the “Every Worm Deserves a Mansion” project) that I’m tentatively calling “physical mutability”. I’m following a research lead for it on “waves”. I’m learning more about synthesizers (how they shape electronic waves), reading about particle-wave duality (quantum entities existing in more than one form), watching rogue wave conspiracy documentaries (so cool, they’re fractal), and collecting images of ads for curtains (lol). I’m not always working though, I also love playing video games.”

Whether your attention is on one project or none during the quarantine, as Nicole shared their artist’s desire; as long as you feel like you’re getting closer to making art that feels more true to yourself or one day makes you proud —you’ve hit the sweet spot.

Be inspired to create your next project by attending one of Launchpad Learning’s free daily workshops. See What’s On.

Written by Tennile Cooper


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