Nicole Chilton

Nicole Chilton is a multi-media abstract artist and writer living in Southwest Missouri. She works quickly and intuitively, capturing emotion rather than reality, and uses vivid color and floral motifs as inspiration. Her current project, The Dream Diary Project, explores dream interpretation through art journaling, and can soon be found in workbook format for all dreamers.

The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Become an arts patron today! Click here to help support the publication of The Dream Diary Project, a bedside journal to help dreamers unlock their hidden potential. Patrons receive exclusive behind-the-scenes looks, original content, and personalized dream interpretations.

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Q&A with Mora B


  1. Name  – Mora Brinkman
  2. Current City – Chicago, IL
  3. What did you want to be when you grew up? – There were several phases: Fashion designer, Broadway singer, Professor, Queen of America (The Presidential role didn’t interest me.)
  4. What are you now? Director of Marketing Communications for a medical device company and Independent Consultant for Arbonne International.
  5. How did you get to this point? I studied advertising in undergrad, public relations in grad school and have held positions at advertising and PR agencies. A few years ago I went to the “Client Side” which may as well be “Dark Side” ad execs discuss it. But it’s pretty great — it’s a thriving industry and, everyday, I work with marketers, engineers, manufacturers, designers and writers to develop integrated communications platforms for companies and products. I have always liked the science + art of brand management. It also gives me an opportunity to strengthen my writing muscle.
  6. Are you paid doing what you love? If not, what would you like to be paid to do? I paid doing what I like. I have always wanted to do communications for a large art center/museum. Communications is the common thread, though. I hold a deep respect for people in the healthcare world. It’s a complicated space and I find a lot of satisfaction in simplifying it as much as possible for patients and caregivers.
  7. Current project(s): Re-building my company’s brand from the bottom >>> up!
  8. What are you reading/listening to/watching/making: “How to Fascinate,”Big Magic” and “Someone at a Distance”. I journal regularly. I write a lot of bad poetry in which I turn our political leaders into barnyard animals. It helps me digest our political environment.
  9. How do you express yourself creatively? Writing, mostly.
  10. Have you ever written a fan letter? If so, to whom? No, but I’ve had really awkward run-ins with celebrities. Re: to 14-year-old self casually chatting up Brad Pitt.  
  11. Drink of choice? Cocktail: G&T; wine: I have seasonal preferences
  12. Who inspires you, and why? Funny ladies. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Carole Burnett. Being a successful comedienne is so rarely appreciated that I find the success and creativity of these women inspiring.
  13. Favorite tool to stay productive (for example, a set of watercolors, a specific planner or app, an exercise program…) Microsoft Outlook? My moleskin notebook.
  14. Something you have learned this year? Enjoy and appreciate the moment.
  15. How can people find you? Met4bd on instagram, FB, LinkedIn or write me at
  16. What can people do to make the world a better place? Express themselves creatively. Bring beauty to the world.

Q&A with Lindsey A.

Last year, Lindsey messaged me to ask if I would help her with a project she was working on. I. Was. Shocked. It was like I was in The Twilight Zone…or at least, the high school version of me felt that way. Let me tell you a bit out Lindsey: she was the girl in high school who could do it all. Cheerleader, dancer, actress, beautiful, smart, funny. I thought she was soooooooooo cool. I was too intimidated to ever talk to her.

And here we are, years later, the two of us are working together on her creative passion project, which mark my words, will be in print and film version in the very near future. I’ve loved every minute of collaborating with her, helping her take a literal dream she had one night, and turning it into a complex, timely, thrilling novel. Through the process, we both have learned a lot, and she has found a calling in becoming an advocate to end human trafficking across the globe. She’s a natural talent and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

{Tapioca Note: I stole this picture from @ShowMetheRavi’s Instagram. Lindsey was hired to do the hair and makeup for one of Ravi Patel’s tv shows.}

1. Name: Lindsey Arellano
2. Current City: Kansas City
3. What did you want to be when you grew up? Everything 😉 Author, Teacher, Actress, Photographer, Comedian, Scuba diving instructor on a small island far far away, voice over for animation
4. What are you now? Everything 😉 Aspiring author, choreographer, makeup artist, mom of four which is basically like a janitor or zookeeper
5. How did you get to this point? I ask myself that question everyday, before sobbing into my pillow. But seriously, I walked through open doors and took hold of every opportunity. There have been many a freelance job that I hesitated taking before reminding myself that each open door is a new possibility. You never know what connections are waiting. You may have the chances to better yourself, further your skills, make a new friend, or get another job.
6. Are you paid doing what you love? If not, what would you like to be paid to do? I get paid to do makeup jobs. I don’t get paid for my day job which is changing diapers, cleaning spills, and feeding children all day long. I would love to sell my novel and get paid for my writing.
7. Current project(s): I recently finished my first novel, AMONG THE DAHLIAS, thanks to my insanely terrific editor: Nicole Chilton!
8. What are you reading/listening to/watching/making: I just finished Paula Hawkins INTO THE WATER, I am taking a break from Television/netflix (gasp) so I can get some work done on my second book that I’ve already started (15,000 words in)
9. How do you express yourself creatively? Writing, choreography, music, art. My daughter, Wren, and I sat on the patio painting water color recently and I could have stayed there for days undisturbed.
10. Have you ever written a fan letter? If so, to whom? Yes. My first one was to Annette Funicello (original mouseketeer) around the age of seven or eight. Recently I have written emails to a few of my favorite authors (now that I know how much hard work and dedication goes into finishing a novel, querying, and actually selling it!) A few include Laura McHugh, Mary Kubica, and Megan Miranda
11. Drink of choice? coffee
12. Who inspires you, and why? 
  • My husband. He is the most self-less, hard working, caring person I know. During his service in the Marine Corps, he was hit with a grenade and shot. Doctors told him he would never walk again. He is currently training for his second Tough Mudder. He lives every day like its his last, squeezing the most out of every moment, seizing every opportunity to bless someone else and to laugh as much as possible.
  • My sister is a the most unwavering driven person I know.  She never backs down from a challenge.
  • Also, my kids because I see their souls untainted by the world, by other people’s opinions, social media, etc. They are fearless, uninhibited, frequently naked, and don’t think twice about singing or dancing in public.
13. Favorite tool to stay productive (for example, a set of watercolors, a specific planner or app, an exercise program…) No, if you know of a way, besides ical, please tell me.
14. Something you have learned this year?
  • I have learned that convenience kills quality.
  • Nothing good comes from taking the quick or easy way (including healthy meals).
  • I’ve learned that I’m a lot tougher than I thought, much more resilient.
  • I’ve also learned that if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of others.
  • Also, I love beautiful landscaping but I don’t like laying a flagstone patio myself.
15. How can people find you? I struggle here. If I could remain anonymous forever I probably would. Alas, artists have to put themselves out there. Insta: lindsey.arellano
email:, website that is nowhere up to par:
16. What can people do to make the world a better place? Love and kindness. Love the people around you the best you can regardless of shared opinions and beliefs. Love yourself and your body its the only one you have. Love your family in a way that shatters your comfort zone.

A Room of My Own

A room of one’s own is a luxurious thing. My new job at the Springfield Regional Arts Council has its own office, complete with a window, nice lighting, and a chair on wheels. It. Is. Amazing. Part of me wants to set up shop there permanently, and bring my art supplies and easels for when I’m not keeping books and writing checks.

This daydream has had me really thinking about the luxury of having a space to create. And more importantly, time to do it. Which has led me to researching local residencies and grants (of which there are very few in southwest Missouri).

Where do you seek solace for your personal projects and passions? A corner of your house? Your favorite coffee shop? Or do you have a studio or shed? I’d love to see photos! Post them to Instagram and #tapiocaSpaces, and I will compile a gallery.

I also recommend checking out The Split Nibs’ post about “The Perfect Spot.”

Q&A with Zoe


Name: Zoe Hawk
Current Location: Doha, Qatar
What did you want to be when you grew up? An artist, ballerina, and mom
What are you now? An artist and art instructor
How did you get to this point? I grew up with an artist for a father, and a mother who loves literature and classic movies, so to me it’s no surprise that I ended up doing something that is both visual and tells a story. I ended up living in Qatar because my husband got a teaching job at Virginia Commonwealth University’s art campus here in
Do you get paid doing what you love? Often you end up actually paying more in than you make as a visual artist, in application fees, shipping work to galleries, material costs, etc. But when someone does finally buy a painting, it is a gratifying moment.
What are you currently working on? I just finished a series of new paintings while I was an artist-in- residence at the Doha Fire Station. It’s a residency program in Qatar that brings together artists from different disciplines and nationalities, gives each a studio for 9 months, and culminates in a group exhibition.
What are you reading?  I just finished reading Florence & Giles by John Harding, a novel inspired by The Turn of the Screw (one of my all-time favorites), and recently started The Bad Seed by William March. I love the 1956 film adaptation and have been
meaning to read the book for a while now.
How do you express yourself creatively? Painting, drawing, and printmaking.
Have you ever written a fan letter? I wrote a fan letter to Morrissey as part of a high school project (I was obsessed with The Smiths as a teenager). I received no reply, unfortunately.
Drink of choice? Here in Qatar, my drink of choice is karak. It’s a strong, sweet, milky tea flavored with cardamom and ginger.
Who inspires you and why? Artistically I am most inspired by the mid-century women Surrealist painters, like Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Dorothea Tanning. In
contrast to the dominant painting tradition—male artists objectifying women’s bodies and depicting them as passive— they imbued their female figures with power, depth, and mystery.
What is a tool you rely on to stay productive? I rely on my set of gouache paints for making tiny sketches before I start a painting. It lets me work out my ideas, as well as things like color and composition, before committing to a final painting.
What is something you learned this year? During my nine months working as an artist-in- residence at the Doha Fire Station, I have met many new people from different places, and have learned a lot about their backgrounds and artistic processes. One artist showed us how she makes her Islamic designs using a drawing compass; another told us
about the cautionary folk tales she learned growing up in Qatar, which is
what her sculptures are based on.
Where can we find you? My website,, and my Instagram @zoe.hawk

You Are More Powerful Than You Think

I have been keeping dream diaries since I was old enough to write. I can still recall my first nightmare (a disembodied floating face, slowly moving around my room, then speeding up and laughing at me), and when I flip back through old journals, familiar emotions and vivid recollections surface. Imagine if you were able to harness that power more often! I love the idea of learning one of the hidden languages in my crazy brain to problem solve, to live more creatively, and connect with others.

The above illustration is one I did early on in this current project called “The Dream Diary Project.” I take symbols and themes from nightly dreams, and deconstruct them into illustrations and research. As the project has evolved, I’m learning more about what questions to ask myself after I awaken, and what some of these symbols and themes could mean. It has become a fascinating way of problem solving, and realizing what has been on my mind subconsciously.

For the past six months, I have been hemming and hawing about self-publishing a book of dream illustrations. Today I finally worked up the courage to seek funding, through Patreon, a crowd-sourced patronage site.

My goal is to raise $3000 to publish a high-quality, small run book for the dreamer in you. It will feature my own illustrations, plus researched information on dream interpretations and historical significance, and ways to boost your own dreaming. With a monthly support from patrons (fingers crossed), I can fund this project faster, and start working on supplemental products, such as oracle cards, stationary, and further my education to delve deeper into dream interpretation.

I’m really excited, but also nervous!

Recent posts

  • Q&A with Mora B

  • Q&A with Lindsey A.

  • A Room of My Own

  • Q&A with Zoe

  • You Are More Powerful Than You Think

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