Q & A With Nikki Couppee

We just received our second batch of Nikki Couppee art/jewelry, and thought is was a good excuse for some q & a, along with shots of Nikki working in her Berkeley studio... 

Angelina: What was your very first job ever?

Nikki: My first job was selling sunscreen in a tiki hut behind a hotel on the beach back home for candy money. And when I was 15 I got a job as a hostess at Peg Leg Pete's.  

A: Favorite, and least favorite thing about Berkeley...

N: La Familia/ La Familia not being closer to me in Oakland.

A: What would your last meal look like?

NSteak, mash potatoes, and carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

A: Have you worked in other mediums besides jewelry?

NI started taking metals classes in high school at the local junior college but thought I was going to purse a Drawing/Painting degree. The more classes I took, as I got closer to graduating I realized I wanted to focus more on metals and went on to the University of Georgia to receive my B.F.A in Jewelry/Metals. A drawing/painting background has influenced my work through composition and color placement and especially with the cloisonné enamel work where it is a mini drawing using silver and glass. In graduate school at Kent State University I was able to blend the two mediums together again with the program's large scale kiln and continued cloisonné and enamel paintings on porcelain steel. 

A:Do you see yourself a jeweler, or an artist or both?


A: Your work is colorful and experimental; have you always been attracted to this vibe?

NI grew up around a lot of color on the beach and in my home and making arts and crafts activities, going out on the beach and finding my own materials, to then paint, glue and decorate to make treasures and wear. I like using found objects and making my own version of gemstones because it allows me to manipulate the size and abundance of the 'stones' in a way that wouldn't be possible with the real thing. I am attracted to shiny objects, if it has a luster to it I will find a way to work it in. 

A: Current inspiration?

N: I am feeling very homesick so I am making a lot of work about the beach and toys, memories, places, and objects from my childhood like Lisa frank, trolls, barbies, zinc, and favorite movie references. I work with a lot of different materials and lots of colors using plastics, plastic flowers, sparkly fly fishing synthetic materials and shells. I walk through Piedmont Cemetery and am inspired by tombstone floral relief carvings, neons, color changing mood juice, nail polish, paint, and glow-in-the-dark pigments.   

See all Nikki's work here.