Transitioning from a marketing executive into a full-time visual artist seems a bit of a stretch – even for Phoenix resident Niki Woehler, who made that very move. “If somebody had told me five years ago that this is what I’d be doing, honestly, I’d laugh them off the planet,” Woehler says.
The Toronto-born artist moved to Phoenix in 1994, and until about two years ago, worked as CEO/founder of Flavor Marketing, LLC. A childhood interest in her mother’s painting and the passing of a friend led her to art. “I called myself a closet artist. I painted for a long time and just never told anybody,” she says. Eventually, she began posting her work on social media; the positive response pushed her to start selling her art. So far, she’s made upwards of 100 paintings and sold to collectors and interior designers, like local Wendy Black Rodgers Interiors and Tucson’s Lori Carroll & Associates.
Woehler, 44, transformed her dining room into a studio. Aside from laying down a base coat, she does not use brushes to paint her large-scale canvases. Her “arsenal” includes trowels, squeegees, palette knives and rollers, all of which she prefers over brushes because of her love for sculpting texture. Her process includes layering up to thirty coats of metallic and natural-toned acrylic paints onto canvas. She coats the final product with a protective finish. “If somebody doesn’t want to reach out and touch, I feel like I’ve failed,” Woehler says.
Though her transition from marketer to painter was tricky, the mother of three knows she made the right decision. “I think you have to trust that every single step you’ve taken is the step you were supposed to take to get you where it is you want to be,” she says. “There’s no wrong turn. The only wrong turn is if you turn your back on what’s in your heart.”
Woehler’s art will be featured on January 24 at the Arizona Concours D’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore. Visit nikiwoehler.com for more information.