THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Nicole Palmquist aka BOOLEEP
By Andrea Monroe – writer for the www.nohoartsdistrict.com art section: THE HIDDEN ARTIST.
I met Nicole Palmquist at a Starbucks across the street from 11:11 A Creative Collective’s semi-permanent pop-up gallery on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. She’d just picked up the artwork she contributed to one of their latest themed shows about street art in Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, Nicole enlightened me as to how she operates in this oftentimes-nocturnal Robinhood world of city painters.
First of all, Nicole’s street name is Booleep. When asked how she came to call herself and her abstracted anatomy animations this, she said, “The name came from a sound. For me, it became the sound and action of the moment when people meet or overlap. You know, the moment you meet and connect with someone.”
But back to the street thang. Although, I’m a huge fan of street art, I haven’t the faintest idea what goes on out there or how art like Booleep’s gets on the sides of buildings, garage doors, and dumpsters. I came to find out that stealthily gratifying an otherwise vacant wall space with one’s vision is pretty much standard– you slip out of the car, usually under the cover of night, and quickly spray paint against a stencil or do it freely by hand. But letting the public know you just participated in the public art movement is altogether something of a different animal. And Nicole runs her secret operation with a criterion unlike other street artists. For instance, she doesn’t instantaneously advertise her work out into the viral stream of Instagram because, true to her belief that art should be absorbed on an individualized basis, she prefers to let her images make an organic connection with the people who happen upon them, like she did in places along the Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset junction.
That pretty much explained this sense I got from Nicole who definitely has a personal process and seems to channel her E.T. or anatomical-inspired images from “somewhere else.” And once created, she has these long-necked guys tell her who they are –– like Holeheads, Smoking Guys, Neckholes, or Toothheads. Better yet, her biggest thrill is what her viewers think these characters are emanating to them –– the intimate relationship between the viewer and viewee, especially in the case of probably one of her most popular characters named Eyehead, an eye who has been equated with several emotions from paint dripping sadness to all-out curiosity.
Overall, I think the biggest aspect of Nicole’s work is seeing Booleep come to life right in front of your eyes––line by methodically drawn black line. She’s participated in a number of live art shows in and around Los Angeles (this is how I originally met her)––drawing or painting on medium-sized to huge pieces of paper, canvas, plywood, and bodies. Yes, bodies, giving the term “live art” its true meaning as she beautifully did at a recent Ego Fine Art Gallery group show event.
Finally, every artist has a dream; a goal they wish to attain during their career. Nicole’s amounts to a three to ten seconds of airtime in an aim “to take back (advertising) space,” similar to taking back physical advertising space in the streets, with the “ultimate goal of maintaining public art––keeping it quick, simple, and accessible.” Bravo Nicole! A blip, or should I say, Booleep on the screen!
You can see Booleep come alive at Evolve, a benefit art show on July 10th. And remember, all her work is for sale and commissionable…except for the bodies of course.
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