For the Love of Art: A Profile of Visual Artist Kaori Nik

Monday, 03 September 2012 21:47 Written by  Kim Shine

“Nobody’s mother teaches you that this is a career,” visual artist Kaori Nik states of her work in the fashion and art industries. At 24, her portfolio is impressive. Boasting of a successful gallery exhibit, and collaborations with world-renowned “creatives,” Kaori is on the path to celebrity herself.

[With my art], “I want to make people think, and find a deeper meaning,” says Kaori, a lover of abstract and conceptual art. “As long as I’m able to produce and show, I’m pleased.”

After discovering her love of art in eighth grade, Kaori’s passion transformed itself into many separate, yet similar areas. As a licensed hair stylist, makeup artist, model, art gallery enthusiast and secret photographer, she has carved a fruitful freelance career for herself.

On December 16, 2011, Kaori debuted her Model-Art Collection, an exhibit showcasing the abstract abilities of herself and some of Chicago’s most talented artists. Styling the hair and makeup for each of the eight shoots, Kaori was very impressed with the outcome of her first art gallery exhibit.

“It was a monster success,“ says Kaori, who was also a featured model and photographer. “Seeing (the artists’) visions and incorporating it with mine was a process that was well worth it … People were able to experience the quality of events I host, as well as the quality of my work.”

Professionally, many esteemed artists have already seen the excellence of Kaori’s talents. She has worked with famed American photographer Stan Malinowski, known for his photography of supermodels, such as Gia Carangi.

She has also styled for rapper/philanthropist Common and for singer/songwriter Keri Hilson. Most recently, magazines Seventeen and Teen Prom highlighted Kaori’s hair and makeup prowess in their Prom 2012 special editions.

During her eight years in the industry, she has learned that preparation supersedes expectation. This ingenious thinking, and her business savvy, has kept her portfolio fresh, increased her client roster, and has supplied her with noteworthy referrals.

“Talent and skill are two different things,” Kaori declares. “If you’re talented and feel you can excel, you should invest in yourself. Know how to manage your skill and make sure you’re not taken advantage of [in this business]. I just try to be as prepared as possible.”

The next couple of years will be quite demanding for Kaori. In addition to traveling to shop her portfolio, she is planning her second gallery exhibit, set for a Spring 2013 debut. According to Kaori, it will combine her two most passionate interests: art and Hip Hop.

“What I do, anyone can do. You just have to want to succeed in this industry bad enough to understand all angles and play smart,” she comments.

Connect with Kaori:

Learn about the Model Art Collection:

 Kim Shine

Kim Shine

Kim Shine is a GlossMagazineOnline (GMO) staff writer. A multimedia journalist, she has reporting experience in entertainment journalism, health and local reporting. Kim is currently pursuing her MS in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She has written for Medill News Service, the Northwest Indiana Times, Level-Up Magazine and Chicago Hip Hop Connects.

She can be contacted at