CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Meet Nichole Westfall, a Korean-American artist and mural painter who was born and raised in West Virginia. Westfall, who was raised in Bomont and is currently based out of Charleston, paints murals full-time as a freelance artist. Since 2017 Westfall has completed 23 murals and 14 other paintings and installations across West Virginia.
“My favorite to paint, so far, has definitely been the ceiling of Santangelo in Thomas, WV,” Westfall said. “Everything about that project was a dream come true. The murals I work on are usually client projects (because I need to be able to make a living), so they tend to have a vision of what they want. These boundaries are really helpful, but it’s rare that I get to ‘do what I want”.
If you live in Woodburn in Morgantown, you may already be familiar with Nichole’s work, as she recently completed one of her projects there earlier this month.
At first, Westfall said she worked on projects for friends or people she already had a working relationship with. It wasn’t until this past year that other people began approaching her for work, and with that change, came new projects that took her out of her artistic comfort zone. One such project was a portrait for a client in Charleston.
Westfall said that while she enjoys painting figures, painting someone’s “likeness” proved to be very challenging, especially when she didn’t personally know the subject.
“I knew that this was an important piece, and the pressure was very heavy. Some days felt really good, and others, not so much — I definitely cried more than once while painting her,” Westfall said.
Usually, Westfall enjoys painting nature and experimenting with ideas and designs relating to animals or plants. For her, nature is the only place she goes to where she doesn’t feel the need to be creative; it’s somewhere she can go to simply relax and experience the moment.
“The only time I stop thinking about making something is when I’m outside — enjoying the world that doesn’t want anything from me, no productivity. I think that it’s important to find beauty and value in things we (humans) don’t personally create or have any control over,” Westfall said.
Westfall said her art style is greatly influenced by printmaking, using large blocks of color and cartoonish designs. She settled on this style while working on a mural inside Ristorante Abruzzi in Charleston, West Virginia, basing it on the look and feel of old postcards.
“I personally enjoy it, because regardless of how much is going on in the composition, the loss of details will give your eyes some time to rest. On the other hand, I am also greatly influenced by decorations like wallpaper, clothing or decorative pottery. I love patterns, and I love excess and abundance. The two kind of feel contradictory, but I’m okay with that.”
When asked what the one thing she could say to others would be, she said, “Stay hydrated and do your best. Try not to be a jerk, unless provoked.”
If you’d like to see more of Nichole Westfall’s work, you can visit her website, or see her work on Instagram to keep up to date on her latest projects.