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Meet Nikki “Detourbutterfly” Saraiva

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki “Detourbutterfly” Saraiva.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nikki. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started off as an expressive little girl, always falling into different creative outlets. Whether it was drawing, studying dance or writing poetry in my journals. Although I was young, I knew it was necessary for me to pour myself into creating something that was an extension of me. As a young adult, there was this cool record store that I always wanted to work at but never got the job. That pissed me off haha. That’s when I got rebellious and put together an amateur business plan to open my own store. With my parents support at that time, I did so. I built two successful alternative retail stores over a ten year period, which I eventually sold due to a desire to move onto something new. Up to this point, I had a couple of talent agencies that I stayed busy with, picking up a variety of film and print work. They didn’t like it very much when I told them I wanted to lock up my hair and tried to convince me that I may not get work. Graceful rebellion kicked in. I ended our partnership and was ready for something new, with my hair locked. Off I went. I entered the fashion industry working for Miami and New York Fashion Week, as well as a freelance wardrobe stylist for photography & film. This is when I was approached directly by designers to walk the runway for them. It was great, I felt like sending my old agent a postcard. The fashion industry lasted about five years for me until I decided it wasn’t feeding my soul and walked away. I had been criticized throughout my life for walking away from thriving “careers” or opportunities that I was gaining or had gained success in. They couldn’t understand my risk-taking considering I had no big opportunity to fall back on.

That’s when I began to explore jewelry making, painting and bone art, eventually finding my passion in mixed media assemblage art. I began exhibiting in galleries around 2011. Things started to stir there, which lead me to winning awards and having publications reaching out to write articles about me and my art. Meanwhile, I took a part-time job teaching art at a small private school. That’s when I had my first panic attack that shook my creative life for the next couple of years. On the tail end of that chapter, I met the 1310 Bandits, an all-female film crew and began making films. We went on to making a few award-winning short films, and eventually a feature film and flew out to Seattle for our first film festival. Coming home and settling into rest mode is when I was introduced to copper art by my brother Shawn. After attending one of his art shows and witnessing him making his magic in his studio, I knew that was my next adventure. Off I went again… Over the next few months, I began accumulating my equipment and learning my new skill. I have since turned Detourbutterfly in a company and now travel the country doing art shows as a metal artist.

If you were to tell me ten years ago that I was about to live that wild ride, I’d say you’re crazy.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Hell no, it was not smooth. Nor was it always graceful. While taking that wild ride, I did so as a single mother of three sons.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m currently working as a metal artist, my medium being copper. I use a plasma cutter to cut from sheets of copper, then weld it into the art I make. I do a chemical treatment that forces the patina process that copper will naturally do, then I seal the work. Copper never rusts, so it’s work that will last a lifetime. I’m known for out of the box designs, often relating to the subjects of love & disdain. However, my subject matter has had a wide range from nautical to weird shit that would complement the vibes of some old curiosity cabinet. I think what sets me apart is my lack of fear of being authentic and producing what I want and not just what I think the public looks at as exceptable.

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently? 
Nothing. Everything I’ve done has made me who I am and has allowed me to live the adventurous life I’ve lived.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Dangerwing Photography, Rod Deal

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