In the last 12 months, most can agree we’ve heard maybe one too many things about Stranger Things, Pokémon Go, Suicide Squad, DJ Khaled, Kim K and Kanye, Game of Thrones and that damn Daniel. But the trends of 2016 have also given artists an idea of what to make and sell - Long Beach artist, Nim Nova, being one of them.
Nova is an artist whose Etsy is filled with edgy sculptures of animals, fan favorite movie/tv show characters, Pokémon, video game memorabilia, morbid jewelry, candles and her very own bath creations. Her Etsy page, Rude & Reckless, appeals to the masses since anyone with practically any interest is bound to stumble upon something they love. She also has another Etsy page that is solely for her handmade body care. It's like Hot Topic and Bath & Body Works, but better.
Nova began sculpting when she was just a kid who longed for an extravagant dollhouse.
"I never got this dollhouse that I wanted...I started making little, miniature food and little pets and things for my house. And that's pretty much where I started," Nova tells the Weekly.
Nova stopped sculpting for years and picked it back up after recreating the monsters from Dungeons & Dragons. Her friends were fascinated by her talent and sparked the idea of making her art available to purchase, which was something that had never crossed her mind.
Nova faced adversity after her daughter was born and was at a loss of how to provide for her newborn. It was then when she decided she was going to sell her work on Etsy. After racking her brain for a store name, she came up with the name Rude & Reckless while she was trying to sculpt and listening to The Clash's "Rudie Can't Fail." Nine years later, Nova has made nearly 5,000 sales and has gathered over 6,000 likes on Facebook. Her Etsy store has over a thousand reviews all mentioning great service, quality and price.
She kicked off her page by making hair clips (which she does not sell anymore), hair bows, and necklaces. To her surprise, they sold. From then on, she gathered ideas from anywhere and everywhere - mostly from scrolling around the internet and finding something she imagined would be a hit. This was the case when Pokémon Go was on nearly everyone's phone and had users glued to their phones roaming any open space. Her bath bombs, including Pokémon surprise eggs and Pokéballs, are her most popular item.
Just by taking a peek at her store, it's evident Nova has a love for animals, '80s/horror/fantasy movies, and video games. She has mini sculptures of Jack Skellington and Sally, Cheshire Cat, Frank the Bunny, No Face, and creatures of all sort. She considers her products "more fantasy and nerd based" and depicts an accurate portrayal of her "weird obsessions." Each sculpture typically takes her 30 minutes to make - even less time if it's smaller.
Nova has a wide array of interests and does not limit herself by any means on what she wants to create. Another one of her best-selling products are her pet mini sculptures. Nova gives buyers 100 percent customization—from the setting, to the color background, any toy/item they want included, and if they want to rep their pet on a pendant, brooch, or locket. What better way to keep your pet close to you forever?
When Nova is taking a break from tending to her art and vending, she is writing and playing ukulele. She spends all her time with her 9-year-old daughter, who enjoys being her backup doo-wop singer and playing violin.
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"My daughter [is my drive]," Nova says. "If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know that I would even do any of this…I started all of this out of desperation, kind of. I would’ve made art to begin with, but I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten this far."
Nova has a number of original ideas she plans on executing in the near-future. After all the holiday craze, she will be making chapsticks, bath bombs, etc. inspired by Skyrim. She also has a "big mini project" she's in the midst of working on. She is planning on writing children’s stories and sculpting the characters out. From there, she will take photos of the sculptures, and make it go along what she's written out in order to make a book.
Nova is a prime example of how perseverance and passion can help push you forward.
"When I get messages and people say ‘oh my god, I’m giving this as a gift and they’re going to love it’ or ‘I saw this, and I cried - thank you so much', I can’t believe people are buying anything from me," she says. "I can’t believe that people are giving stuff that I made as a gift. It means that much. It’s a really intense feeling."