Nicole “Nikki” Lemkemeier grew up in a family surrounded by women artists. Her grandmother won awards for her watercolor paintings on the East Coast, and her mother is both a talented oil painter and, as Nikki puts it, a “seamstress extraordinaire.” Growing up in an old Victorian home in Winnetka, Illinois, Nikki’s mother converted a sleeping porch into an art room. There the young artist’s creativity ran wild. Nikki will tell you that she found a way to incorporate something artistic into everything she did–even making a complex mobile to illustrate the use of Spanish verbs in 7th grade.
School continued with various artistic pursuits and accomplishments. Her senior year in high school, Nikki won a national Hallmark award resulting in one of her pieces being displayed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Nikki attended Washington University in St. Louis, graduating with a double major in Printmaking and Art History.
Soon after graduating, she took a job with a local St. Louis company that hired her to paint Missouri wild flowers with underglazes on ceramic ware. Having never worked with ceramics or glaze before, Nikki had a steep learning curve but came to love the complex medium that allowed her to create with both texture and imagery.
After several years of painting ceramic wares, Nikki dove into the world of mosaics by creating a kitchen backsplash for her own home. That first kitchen backsplash project was composed of hundreds of pieces of painted clay formed to create ceramic branches and flowers of a dogwood tree.
Her basic approach to making her unique mosaic-based art has not changed much since that original installation. Nikki continues to focus on intricately woven shape and imagery on ceramic tile.
Today, outside of work, Nikki spends her time with her two elementary school-aged boys, her attorney husband, and two beloved stray dogs. She continues to constantly “play” with art as she did as a young child on the old sleeping porch. Whether it is creating a “Minecraft” mural on her boys’ bedroom wall or finding inspiration at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, art continues to occupies every aspect of Nikki’s life.
What My Clients Have to Say
“She has an understanding of what we want as clients, and I’ve pretty much let her do whatever she wants. I really trust her and her art. The challenge to be creative and design something that will really impress and make people happy makes her tick.” – Gerard Craft, Craft Restaurants Ltd.
“Nikki’s work is so unique — not only because she is a tile artist, which is exceptional in its own right, but because all of her work is entirely hand-made and personal. In a world where so much is mass produced, Nikki’s installations are special because they are truly one-of-a-kind. Working with Nikki allowed us to add a personal touch — and a beautiful piece — to our living space.” – Ashley and John Kemper
“Nikki is extremely easy to work with because of her attention to detail. She applies the same level of scrutiny to the management of her business and contracts that she applies to her artwork. The quality of her designs is tremendous. Her finished product always engages people, adults and children alike, because of her intricate detail. She truly captures the essence of whatever she is translating from life into her artistic representations. At City Academy, the impact of Nikki’s installations is evident every day. Our students see themselves in our murals and take great pride in how they have been included.” – Don Danforth, President, City Academy