Aloha! Nice to meet you.
Here’s a little background behind how Brooke Nelson Design came to be:
I have always appreciated the art in everything. I can remember rearranging my room as a kid and painting it the colour of a summer sky so that I could wake up every morning to summer; the distinct feeling of overwhelm when I visited the Louvre on a high school trip to France; the impossible duplication of the blue of the Pacific ocean; the joy in giving friends art for their homes; the shapes and alignment in yoga postures; and always coming back to the inspiration that is nature.
In 2001, I attended the University of Manitoba and took an introduction to Art History. It was my favourite class by far. As I was completing my Bachelor of Arts, I decided to put together a portfolio and apply for the Graphic Design program at Red River College in Winnipeg: Following my heart – somehow knowing that doing what I loved naturally could end up being part of a career one day. Luckily, the teachers there saw something in me, and I was accepted for the upcoming school year.
The program was intense and the learning curve was steep, but it was such an excellent way to really learn about Graphic Design from it’s foundations all the way to how designers work now. I am ever grateful for that experience and tools that I was able to take from that education.
During my final year at college, I took a summer internship at Fusion, an advertising agency in downtown Winnipeg. They quickly became my family and I was invited to stay on with them as a junior designer. I experienced working with their wide variety of clients and had a rich learning experience on all kinds of projects. I was promoted to Senior Designer and then Art Director.
In 2010 my husband and I moved to Hawaii and I was given the opportunity to stay on as a designer with Fusion. It was an invaluable experience to learn to be self motivated in a home-based studio.
Hawaii has been one of my biggest teachers to date. Aloha is truly a palpable thing there, not some cliché you hear about in movies. I learned the value of loving life now, not after retirement, not just on the weekends, not just at the cabin, but NOW, every day, taking time to be thankful and really see the beauty all around. I learned that the best way to love what I do is to serve others. I learned about a truly balanced, whole life. Life/work balance, the importance of family, being in nature, only using-eating-earning what you need and then giving back, treating my body as a sacred space … I can keep going.
I took yoga teacher training in 2012 and was able to channel creativity in other ways – by designing sequences that would help people be more open, receptive, loving, flexible and present. I learned about the body as art, I created playlists that made me feel like I was painting on a canvas, every song for a purpose and mood. Most importantly, I gained a love for self and in-turn developed richer relationships with others. I practiced courage on the mat, stepped out of my comfort zone many times (handstands!) and learned that I grew the most when I stepped beyond comfort.
Every winter in Hawaii, I anxiously awaited the arrival of the Humpback whales, as they migrated south to birth their babies. My connection to nature, animals and ocean grew exponentially as I was able to see them close up, hear them call out under the water and be in their massive (literally the size of a school bus!) presence.
Hawaii was transformative in so many ways.
In summer of 2014, we arrived – full-circle – back in my hometown of Morden, Manitoba. Ready to to seize the opportunity to have every-day-life with family again. We purchased my Nan’s home where I ate lunch every Sunday growing up and started to dream about how to take what we learned in Hawaii and grow it in Manitoba.
One of these dreams was to serve my friends with what I love to do. This is how Brooke Nelson Design began. With a passion for creativity and a desire to help out, I mustered the courage to give it a shot from home. Working as a freelancer allows me the opportunity to have a flexible schedule so that I can paint, teach yoga, enjoy the amazing big-sky outdoors that is Manitoba, and be with my family.
I look forward to meeting you and listening to your story. Thanks for taking the time to read about some of mine.
Mahalo nui loa,
Instagram: Pay Attention to Everything
Translated: Everything has something to offer and teach me, if I only look for it. Everything is divine and the smallest things sometimes give us the biggest messages. It’s a matter of paying attention. Instagram is my way of doing this – by taking a photo, I pause just a few seconds longer, take a breath and notice the absolute beauty that sits right in front of me.
Art is an act of faith, and we practice practicing it.Julia Cameron