We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Solis-Sison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, how do you think about risk?
My life mantra is to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. This has allowed me to reframe my mindset to think that risks aren’t so risky after all. If I am comfortable with the unknown, comfortable with knowing that everything in life is unpredictable anyway, then I should not stop myself from pursuing what I really want in my life and career. With that being said, I do still make calculated decisions in what is realistic with my current situation. Is there such a thing called calculated risks? I think so! You have to weigh the probabilities of your actions to see if they ultimately will result in your desired outcomes. I think decisions that are based more on gut feeling vs. calculations are more rewarding as the outcomes are surprising and more fun! My parents did not have plans to come to America. They decided this three days before booking their tickets. They risked their life on a whim, that was instigated by a fortune cookie. Yet, they came, became green card holders, and had a fulfilled life in America. Yes they were uncomfortable and they experienced a lot of hardships, but they accomplished something that most people just dream or fantasize about. I’ve taken the same approach in the way I live my life and conduct my career. Carpe diem!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started my career as a model where I learned how to sell products. Modeling made me realize that I wanted to be more behind the camera rather than being in front of the camera. I picked up a camera and started learning photography, videography, post-production, and graphic design in college. I wanted to understand all the ins and outs from ideation, production, storytelling to post-production. The more I worked in the industry, I started to see that I had a lot more to offer than my skill set, I had a responsibility to choose who I worked with and what messaging my work was putting out in the world. Who am I really helping and how will my work impact people not just today but for years to come? Reframing and reclaiming narratives are integral to my work in changing the way we view and engage in our communities. My art practice encapsulates different mediums focusing on engagement through human interaction and social discourse. There are many challenges to pursuing my art practice. One main challenge is always the question of how do I measure impact? I’ve come to the conclusion that I should not pressure myself to change the entire structure of systemic oppression as a whole, but instead look at how I am moving the conversation forward.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Los Angeles is the home of many immigrants. Food is a reflection of the heart of a city. First stop is breakfast burritos at Penny’s Burgers, a local favorite in Highland Park, established in 1969, before the gentrification of the neighborhood. From there, a walk down Figueroa for sight seeing and a pitstop at the Artform Studio to see if there are local artists spinning and to do a little record shopping. An after breakfast hike would be necessary at Griffith Observatory for the best view of the city. Next up, lunch! Manuela in the Arts District would provide the best atmosphere and homestyle food and cocktails. We can see if there is a pop up exhibition and stop by Artbook to pick up a zine or book. The beach is a must. A drive down to Malibu and sunbathe in Point Dume State Beach. All week long we can eat at restaurants for dinner to really get a taste of what LA has to offer: Dave’s Hot Chicken, Howlin’ Rays, Lasa, Majordomo, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, and Night and Market Song.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My career path has been pretty isolating. A lot of solo time in the office and studio, creating and developing new concepts. Two years ago, I joined the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, a collective that centers the importance of undocumented artists as storytellers in their field, where I found community and a safe space to share my creativity. Now, I don’t feel so isolated. I feel seen, heard and appreciated by people that I admire and find so inspiring.