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Conversations with Nicole Shannon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Shannon.

Hi Nicole, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
I am an artist and writer inspired by human potential and our capacity for creativity. Since I was young, I’ve always made things and practiced working with different art disciplines, from drawing and painting to 3-D sculpture, digital art and coding. I see each discipline as a medium of expression and often use them in combination to help further the content of my work. Throughout my artistic journey, I’ve been a custom goldsmith, a sculptor, a fashion designer, a writer, an art educator, a UX Architect, a product developer, and a growth coach. My father gave me a box of goldsmithing supplies when I was 15, leading to formal goldsmithing classes and a fine art degree. I worked as a custom goldsmith on Madison Avenue in New York City and eventually opened an art gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida.

When I had the gallery, I also got involved in fashion design and showed a line during New York fashion week. Shortly after that whirlwind time, I became a mom and realized I wanted to begin studying human potential and our capacity for creativity. So I started researching our cognitive ability for creative thinking and problem-solving. When I wasn’t in the studio making art, I began reading neuroscience research papers and reaching out to experts in the field for clarifications. This exploration led me to found Create Potential, an education institute bringing together visionaries, founders, and artists to maximize their potential through science-backed creativity, flow state, and holistic growth training. Today, my artwork is a reflection of all of my many different inspirations and experiences. I believe everyone is born with innate value and intrinsic creativity, and I hope my work can communicate this.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My second child, my son, Quinn, was born in October of 2018 with several congenital disabilities. As a result, his NICU doctors gave him a bleak diagnosis. Thankfully, The Greenwood Genetic Center was able to identify his unique genetic profile and provide my husband and me with the support and clarity we needed. Quinn’s genetic testing revealed that he was missing 263 genes. Even though no other person has ever been identified with Quinn’s unique genetic profile, The Greenwood Genetic Center was able to provide us with resources to support him best. Although Quinn was initially discharged from the NICU into Hospice with a very grim prognosis, he is now three years old and has more than surpassed the expectations everyone had for him. He has come so far in such a short time. He has had many surgeries and hospital stays but has consistently regained his strength and continues to amaze his family and doctors with his resiliency and cheerful disposition. We don’t know what the future holds for Quinn, and it has been incredibly challenging at times, but I am very grateful for every moment I get to share with him.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I will show my most recent art series, “Rare Roses,” at The Greenwood Genetic Center in October. The Rare Rose art series is in response to my realization that many people with rare DNA, including my son, are not always regarded with the same esteem and value as the general population. After reading many heartbreaking stories from people in the rare DNA support groups, I felt compelled to communicate to the world the innate value I believe every human being has, regardless of their DNA profile. It took me a while to identify how I could best express this. Still, I finally realized that a rose was a perfect symbol of the beauty and significance of a person since roses are revered in almost every culture around the world. With the help of botanists, I could identify was able to identify real roses with genetic abnormalities that I could depict in my artwork. So, I painted a dozen rare roses in tribute to my son and everyone born with rare genetic variants. Each painting reminds us that we are all uniquely beautiful and deserving of love.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
The Rare Rose art series can be seen online at or in-person on the main campus of The Greenwood Genetic Center at the JC Self Research Institute, 113 Gregor Mendel Circle in Greenwood. SC during October. A public artist reception will be held on October 6th from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm. While on display, the artwork will be available for purchase, and 80% of the sale price will be donated to The Greenwood Genetic Center to support its mission and vision. I’m also interested in potential collaborations with other artists. I would encourage them to join the Create Potential mailing list and join the community.

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