The works of Nicholle Kobi have been reposted and being saved in our phones as lockscreens, phone backgrounds, and inspiration for years. And for good reason. In just one scroll through her Instagram feed, you are instantly met with feel-good vibes: seeing images that proudly feature natural hair, working women, friendship, and black love.
The world should take note.
Originally from Normandy, France, the now NYC-based artist has received wide acclaim for her celebration of the "black woman without cliche." Recently, Nicholle chatted with xoNecole to talk about the importance of portraying black woman in a multilayered multifaceted light, her upcoming art exhibit series, as well as the message behind her artwork.
"The message in my artwork is to show my sisters how powerful we are when we stay together, when we work together, when we support and love ourselves," she said. "I really want to show the beauty of black women and how strong we are… I want more unity and love for ourselves."
Artist, Nicholle Kobi
Before building Maison Nicholle Kobi, the brand we have come to love and respect, Nicholle was discouraged from tailoring her artwork to the black female experience and ultimately left art school for the private sector. After spending 10 years working in insurance, while on maternity leave, she began to question what truly brought her happiness. "I remembered drawing is the thing that gives me peace… so I decided to draw. I was drawing 10 illustrations a day and started to post all of my artwork on social media."
"I remembered drawing is the thing that gives me peace."
With time, Nicholle set her sights on flipping the narrative about how society thinks about the black woman. "I was looking for images of real life black women without any cliche, not images that degraded us, and it was not very easy. I wanted to see more modern images of me and my friends, my sisters. So, I decided to stop complaining and do it myself."
Rejecting negative media portrayals, she has turned her artwork into a powerful platform for self-love and sisterhood.
"In my artwork, I want to humanize my sisters… For me, it's very important for all [of the] African diaspora to recognize themselves in my artwork. Every black woman must be able to see herself or her future in my images. We are not what people say we are. We are clever, strong, beautiful, powerful. Nothing can stop us from being who we want to be: mothers, entrepreneurs, doctors, [or even the] president."
"Every black woman must be able to see herself or her future in my images."
Her work has brought together so many women of different backgrounds, from the Caribbean to the Americas, and she hopes that her work will continue to create space to discuss, explore, and unite. With these themes in mind, Nicholle is currently headlining her 'Parisian Instant' 2018 Art Series Exhibit with 30+ stops spanning the world including Brazil, the United States, Europe, and Africa, bringing her artwork and message to the masses.
"This tour was a crazy idea I had two years ago, going out there and meeting all these women who support and love my artwork, but the learning goes both ways. This year, we added more cities in the US because I love to learn from black America and the demand was very important too. "
San Francisco: July 25
Los Angeles: July 28
Nashville: August 27
Charlotte: August 29
Chicago: September 26
Boston: November 27
Detroit: November 29
Washington, DC: December 1
New York, NY ( Brooklyn): December 8
Durban: August 8
Cape Town: August 11
Johannesburg: August 15
London: September 8
Paris: September 15
Find more information regarding her art series tour here.
Nicholle is also excited to announce that she has partnered with Hallmark to release a new collection of cards celebrating black mothers, black lovers, and black sisterhood! They will be released in the near future and she hopes that you love them as much as she does.
More than anything, Nicholle wants to showcase the real beauty of black women across the globe and reminds us to lift up our fellow sisters and to be proud of who we truly are. "Because black women come in all shapes and all shades. Because I believe in my people."
Artist, Nicholle Kobi, at her 'Parisian Instant' 2018 Art Series Exhibit