Artist, singer-songwriter, and El Segundo resident Nicolette Aubourg painted “Masked Angel Statue,” our cover image this month. Read on for more about Nicolette and her work.
By Maureen Kingsley
Images: “Woman at Piano,” “Sinead," “Cabaret,” “Horse,” “Virginia.” All paintings by Nicolette Aubourg.
Born in South Africa to a British father and a South-African artist mother, Nicolette Aubourg moved to Los Angeles as a young adult and to El Segundo in 2005. She grew up making music from a very young age and learning painting from her mother, and these two interconnected disciplines have defined Nicolette’s life ever since.
“My music has influenced my art,” Nicolette explains. “Many of my paintings have a musical theme. I’ve depicted musical instruments, musicians, and dancers, but I also incorporate my art into my musical presentations, such as in liner notes, on album covers, and in website material. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Nicolette Aubourg ©William Kroll,
Nicolette says she sometimes uses her paintings as backdrops for her live performances, which were formerly at venues such as Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood. More recently, Nicolette has performed to audiences via online streaming—a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a painter, Nicolette says, “I suppose I’ve been influenced by the Post-Impressionists in that I love freedom of expression—there’s no pressure to create realism.
“I haven’t really thought of intentionally using symbolism in my art,” she continues, “but my most recent painting, ‘Masked Angel Statue,’ which I painted in 2020 and which appears on the cover of The El Segundo Scene this month, is obviously symbolic of COVID-19.” The work was inspired by photos of angel statues in Victorian graveyards, Nicolette shares, “which I thought were beautiful. Statues are weathered by time, but the emotion they represent is timeless.”
Nicolette’s distinct color palette contains striking, vivid hues that repeat throughout her work. “I love bright colors,” she says, “which is interesting, because many of the songs that I write are very dark, addressing serious social issues such as gun violence, suicide, animals suffering in captivity, homelessness—and even a ‘pandemic’ song I wrote about the Ebola virus long before COVID-19.
“So when I use bright colors in my art,” she continues, “it’s the antithesis of my song lyrics, which hopefully creates a bit of emotional balance!”
Nicolette says her goal is to contribute to making the world a better place through her music and art. For one live gig she had, long before the current pandemic and around the time of Hurricane Katrina, Nicolette sold small paintings to benefit the hurricane victims.
“I always wanted to be a philanthropist, but that didn’t quite work out!” she says. Fortunately, Nicolette continues to brighten the lives of others by sharing both her music and her art.
Images: Nicolette Aubourg ©William Kroll, “Woman at Piano,” “Sinead," “Cabaret,” “Horse,” “Virginia.” All paintings by Nicolette Aubourg.
Visit Nicolette's website to experience her art and music and to make purchases.