We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicol Hodges and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicol, why did you pursue a creative career?
At the age of 13, I developed Osgood-Schlatter disease. It’s not as bad as it sounds but when you’re 13, it’s everything. Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs in young teenagers who have growth spurts and the bones below the knee caps become lumpy and extremely painful. The doctor told me I couldn’t participate in any physical activity for nearly a year. So, to keep me busy, my mother purchased paints, pencils, markers, “how to draw” books and that’s when I became an artist. I painted on everything from t-shirts to massive banners for my high school football team. Painting and drawing soon became a small business during my junior and senior year in high school. In college, I majored in apparel manufacturing and design while running for the University of Columbia-MO. There I learned art history, garment construction, as well as product development. My first job out of college was retail management and it wasn’t enough, so I moved to LA to become a designer. I worked for a few small design studios and later decided to get into product development. I worked for Marie Osmond Collectible Dolls, Mattel, and other well-known private label brands.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The world of art/design/product development has changed over the years. Whether you are a freelance artist or an internal artist, you have to understand the business and how others will benefit from your talents. First, know your worth and if you don’t know, do the research, learn from other artists and ask. Always be willing to learn so that you can evolve and continue to get better. Last, believe in yourself and do not let what others say discourage you. There will always be someone with an opinion (good and bad) and that’s a good thing! Why? That means they see you and they see your work. So, always push forward and never look back. There are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned.

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.
For a week long trip, it’s all about the beach and heading south to downtown San Diego! Sunday – Start the morning with a run or walk along the coast in Solana Beach, have brunch at Naked Cafe and later head south for fresh sushi at Soichi restaurant. Monday – Enjoy local shopping in Carlsbad and continue the shopping spree at UTC Mall in LaJolla. Tuesday – Celebrate Taco Tuesday at City Tacos in North Park or if you want a little taste of soul, head to El Cajon for Surf n Soul seafood Tuesday! Wednesday – Balboa park is the perfect place to find a yoga class in the park, explore the Art and Science museum and later head to Wine & Volt Bistro for a nice little drink and a bite to eat. Thursday – We would head  to Coronado for a nice long bike ride along the bay and eat some great American food from Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge. Friday – Mission Bay would be a great place to run, bike, paddle board or kayak. Plenty of open park space and an amazing boardwalk along the ocean. Saturday – Breakfast in North Park at Nomad’s donuts, take the 7 Bridge tour and enjoy all the murals along the way.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to give a shout out to my long time friend Laura Murcek. I met Laura at Mattel. We worked together on various Barbie projects and later found out we were both pregnant at the same time. Our daughters were born just days apart! Over the years, she has become a very good friend, as well as an excellent mentor! She has never turned down a phone call or text message. I hope every woman has a Laura in their life. I believe women become empowered when they are supported by other empowering women.

Website: seenicrun.com

Instagram: instagram.com/seenicrun01

Linkedin: linkedin/nicolhodges

Twitter: twitter.com/seenicrun

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.