Nicole Young is an artist living and working in the okanagan

Nicole Young (b. 1990 Peterborough, Ontario) is a Kelowna based artist who creates acrylic abstract paintings and collages. Nicole moved to California to study fine arts and art history at the University of California Los Angeles, and returned to the Okanagan in 2014, where she finished her BFA in painting and art history at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Nicole works primarily with acrylic paint, chalk pastels and collaged textiles, using her observations from travel, of people and her work in the fashion industry as influences to develop unique colour schemes and material choices. Her works are narrative in nature, focusing on documentation through abstraction as well as exploring the history of women working with textiles. She has also curated multiple exhibitions through her work as a curatorial intern with the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan. Her mixed media paintings combine paints, dyes and textiles that evoke feelings of nostalgia and a sense of place. Her most recent works reflect her passion for environmental sustainability, incorporating natural dyes, recycled materials and simplicity.

artist statement

My art practice explores the intersection of documentation through abstraction and the rich history of women working with textiles. There is a story behind every fabric, and my work tells this story as I see it. I am visually recording the world around me through the combination of gestural marks, pours and textiles. I am interested in the tactile qualities that are generated through the combination of fabric and paint. Textiles add another dimension to the layers of a painting that I cannot achieve simply through mark making, colours, lines and layers. While I'm working I select a colour scheme based on the fabric I have chosen and paint intuitively, balancing controlled and more accidental movements. I work in layers and build my pieces as I go using acrylic paint, ink, dyes and fabrics.

In social situations, I have always been more of an observer than a participator. I love to watch and listen to people and to notice everything about my surroundings. Quick glances, subtle movements, uncontrolled expressions. The way people move through spaces when they’re crowded compared to when they are empty. Those moments when we forget about the performance of living and are simply there. I am constantly making mental notes of these gestures and movements in order to translate them onto the surface of a painting. Textiles find a home in many of my works because fabrics have a strong connection to people, place and time. They hold a familiarity that elicits feelings of nostalgia and remembrance in the viewer.

My current fascination is with observing the way people move through spaces. In 2014 I took an art history course focused on architecture and learned about the ways buildings and structures are designed so that people flow through them in very specific ways. This idea has resurfaced for me quite recently. The idea of attempting to control something that is so unpredictable is mirrored in my artworks - I'm balancing moments of planned painting and surrendering to the chaos of paint itself.

Curriculum Vitae



BFA, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Major in Visual Arts, Minor in Art History and Visual Culture


Go Global Study Abroad Program, University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Fine Arts and Art History


Painting and Mixed Media, Sean Serfas, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Pre-University Course



Tandava, Featured Artist, Kelowna, BC


Rivers and Roads to Find You, Vernon Public Art Gallery, Vernon BC

Ratio, Featured Artist, Vernon, BC


Mix and Match, heART School Exhibition Space, Starbucks, Kelowna, BC

The Rule of Three, Ecora Engineering, Kelowna, BC


Where We Are, Streaming Café, Kelowna, BC

Shell, Lululemon Athletica, Kelowna, BC

Away We Go, The Marmalade Cat, Kelowna, BC


Jailbird, The Habitat, Kelowna, BC                                 

One Last Thing, Frock, Kelowna, BC



Art on the Line 2018, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC

A Restless Earth, Lake Country Art Gallery, Lake Country, BC


Art on the Line 2017, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC


Exposed!, Vernon Public Art Gallery, Vernon, BC

Drawn Together, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna, BC

Off The Rails: Lake Country Art Walk, Lake Country Community Complex, Lake Country, BC

Artscape Community Exhibition, Okanagan College Library, Kelowna, BC

Draped/Double Take, Lake Country Art Gallery, Lake Country, BC

Satin Sea, Rotary Center for the Arts, Kelowna, BC


Shelf Life, Vernon Public Art Gallery, Vernon, BC (Travelling Exhibition)

Shelf Life, FCCS Gallery, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC


Inside Out, Hillel at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Under Eight, SOPA Fine Arts, Kelowna, BC


Under Eight, SOPA Fine Arts, Kelowna, BC

The Mad Hatter, Kelowna, BC



Artscape Curatorial Internship, Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada