The world of NCLS is the place where art transcends mere visual beauty and becomes a powerful conduit for hope, inspiration, and positive change. In this interview, we delve into the creative journey of Faith Sycaoyao, the visionary artist behind the pseudonym NCLS. With roots that span Filipino and Chinese heritage, Faith’s art resonates with a global audience, bridging cultures and emotions through her exceptional skill and unique perspective.
NCLS’ art is a harmonious blend of diverse influences, from classical aesthetics to contemporary elegance. Through her hands, a canvas becomes a vessel for hope, a mirror of emotions, and a beacon of unity, as Faith aspires to inspire, uplift, and extend a glimmer of solace to those facing life’s challenges.
4TinyHands: When did you first understand that becoming an artist was your heart’s calling? Could you share with us how your creative journey began?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): I discovered my passion for art in high school after it began as an unplanned pastime when I was 13 years old. As I spent more time drawing and sharing my art, I became more aware of its capacity to inspire others and developed a fondness for it. One example would be children from households with limited resources joyfully smiling in their own way of drawing their hearts out; Or presenting a drawing to older people to keep them company during the day. All these small pleasures in life melt my heart and can offer even the slightest solace to others despite the world’s difficulties.
Despite my parents’ opposition, I continued to hone my skills while researching the various prospects accessible in the discipline of art. The tingling feeling within me and the supportive remarks of others would always offer me a glimpse of hope.
So I started down on the creative path by simply having faith in myself. And, in the future, I hope that my achievements will speak for themselves and serve as a tool in aiding and inspiring others, such as beginning artists, youngsters facing economic challenges, and those with hidden longings in this world. I want to give young generations hope, strength, and resilience to confront their potential despite the failed expectancy.
4TinyHands: You live in the USA, but your descent is Filipino and Chinese. How has this mix of cultures influenced your art and style?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Indeed! I am grateful for my Filipino and Chinese roots, but they barely had any influence on my creative style. I am always eager to learn about different cultures around the world, and I anticipate traveling to various places to broaden my horizons in the future.
While some of my earlier digital works were influenced by Chinese aestheticism and emblems, my current artistic technique has been influenced by sleek and elegant designs like Greek, impressionist, and classical works. I believe that beauty can be found in a variety of styles and perspectives, so I am more than willing to expand my ideas to include various forms if necessary.
4TinyHands: You are also recognized in the world of art by the pseudonym NCLS. What significance does it hold for you?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): NCLS is an amalgam of my second first name, Nicole, and my surname. Its name originates from the Greek Nikolaos which translates as “victory of the people.” It has a special significance for me, as does the word “Faith.”
As I’ve said, I want to create art that inspires people and provides peace or solace. Even a single piece of art made by others can make a positive difference in people’s lives, liberating and reassuring them in their daily struggles and leading them to victory over their obstacles, which is how I intend to direct my brand’s mission. Overall, it carries the weight of my name… to believe in the people’s victory.
4TinyHands: How has your art evolved over time (are there any particular changes in your style or the technique that you use)?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): My art has undergone significant changes over time, and it has been a rough journey to establish a style that characterizes my brand and personality. I began with graphite work and then explored other mediums such as watercolor, acrylic painting, sculpting, digital art, and character design, all while experimenting with techniques like cross-hatching, realism, pointillism, and so much more.
I discovered my current art style through mixed media techniques as I continued to learn about many art disciplines. My style is distinct from the NCLS brand, and it has evolved to become a true representation of my artistic vision. However, I hope to demonstrate my other interdisciplinary art potential in the future.
4TinyHands: You use a variety of different mediums and mix media in your work, what medium do you prefer to work with and why do you like it?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): As an artist, I’m open to engaging with different mediums and have already mastered certain ones. When it comes to personal preferences, I prefer graphite and digital art. As a college student with a hectic timetable, I find that these mediums are more practical for me because I can complete a piece in 1-5 hours.
Graphite is a simple medium to work with, and I enjoy seeing details and intricacies come to life through shading. Digital art, on the other hand, allows me to experiment with a wide range of techniques and provides an unrivaled level of precision. Overall, I tend to gravitate towards mixed media art for now.
4TinyHands: I’ve noticed that you prefer portraits and how emotions can be read on someone’s face. Can you share more about this aspect of your art?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Ah yes! Portraits have always fascinated me because they offer an assertive way to convey emotion through facial expressions. It’s amazing how much can be communicated through a simple glance, the curve of a smile, or a furrowed brow. When I work on a portrait, I strive to create a piece that tells a story beyond just a likeness of someone’s physical features.
To me, portraits are a connection with the viewer on a deep level, sparking an emotional response and offering a window into the human experience. As an artist, there’s nothing more satisfying than creating a piece that resonates with people. Hence I hope to utilize more of these features in my future projects.
4TinyHands: What’s the secret behind the captivating sepia effect in your artwork? Your art seems reminiscent of beautiful old photography.
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Hmm, I don’t think there’s anything obscured or a secret behind my work. It’s simply a technique that anyone with enough practice can master. You can ensure that the final product is beautiful, unique, and meaningful by putting time and effort into each piece. Just have patience! And, I’m glad my work speaks to you and makes you nostalgic for vintage photography, thank you!
4TinyHands: Could you walk us through your creative process, from envisioned idea to the finished piece of art? Do you have any rituals or habits that help you stay focused and productive?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Nothing at all, I don’t have any particular rituals or habits that I follow while creating art. For me, the creative process is more organic and intuitive, and it all starts with an idea or mental image that I want to bring to life.
I usually start with a rough sketch or outline (gathering references if necessary) and then work to refine the details and bring the piece to completion. Whenever I feel like I need to concentrate or an outlet to channel my emotions or thoughts, I turn to art whilst in solitude. It not only helps me stay focused and productive but also keeps me composed in life.
Overall, my creative process is fluid, allowing me to work at my own pace. Although, I tend to draw a line between my personal life and the publicity of my brand. Therefore, instead of sharing an art piece that is personal in nature, I prefer to share portraits, still life, or character designs.
4TinyHands: How do you cultivate and nurture your imagination? Do you have any favorite spots to visit and find inspiration?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to explore the outside world as much as I would like to in the past due to personal reasons. However, when it comes to fostering my imagination, I find great solace in nature.
Sitting by the riverside, seeing the serene beauty of flower fields, and simply looking out the window at the night sky sparks my creative energy. Regardless of my surroundings, my imagination is always at work, and I find inspiration and appreciation in simple moments and encounters.
Ideas can strike me out of nowhere, and when they do, I may invest all of my energy and creativity into bringing them to fruition once I got the time. For me, cultivating imagination is all about staying open to new possibilities, being present in the moment, and allowing your creative energy to flow naturally.
4TinyHands: What is your favorite piece you’ve created so far, and what makes you feel particularly proud?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): I don’t really have one yet, nor have I created one that I can hold on to so dearly. Every piece is equally important to me and represents a distinct point in my creative journey. While I am proud of my work thus far, I am aware that I still have many years of artistic growth and discovery ahead of me.
However, I long for the day when I will be able to create work that truly speaks to me, that I can cling to, and that I can cherish wholeheartedly.
4TinyHands: What challenges have you faced as an artist, and how have you overcome them? What advice do you have for young artists struggling to find their own creative voice or receiving negative feedback?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): As an artist, I understand the common major challenge faced is trying to discover our unique voice out there. That is a long and demanding process, requiring a lot of self-reflection and exploration, which may cause most to give up on the process. But trust! It’s worth the determination!
To overcome this challenge, I would advise young artists to focus on themselves first. Take time to understand the world around you, uncover its meaning, and design your own identity. As you gain a deeper insight into your life’s implications, you will be able to create art that is uniquely your own, reflecting your values, experiences, and forthcoming pursuit, which will then provide essence to others too. This will not only help you stay consistent with your ideation but also uplift others to uncover their inventive voices.
In addition, it’s necessary to remember that negative feedback is a natural part of the process, and it’s best to stay tenacious and daring, even when others doubt you! Keep creating and follow your passion – the rest will fall into place over time!
4TinyHands: What emotional impact do you hope your art has on viewers? Is there any message you want to convey through your art and how do you use color, texture, and perspective to express it?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): My current priorities are poverty alleviation, equal educational opportunities, and assisting younger generations. So, I hope that through my art, I can convey a message of hope to viewers, reminding them that hope never fades away; it is always present in this world.
Having faced similar struggles, I want to reach out to under-served communities, embrace the children, and bring them the opportunities, freedom, and joy they deserve.
I use the elements of color, texture, and perspective to reinforce the emotions I want to convey in my work to express these messages. Tan, beige, cream, and white colors are used as representations of virtue, purity, and relaxation. With a hint of orange for optimism and positive change. With slender and delicate curving lines to portray the work’s tranquility and simplicity.
I hope that these minor gestures convey warmth, confidence, and peaceful emotional energy that should be shared and communicated among the viewers.
4TinyHands: What role, in your opinion, can art play in inspiring joy, hope, and positivity (especially during difficult times)?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): During tough circumstances, art can have an influential physical and emotional effect on those who are enduring. As an artist, I’ve witnessed personally how art can be employed as a therapeutic outlet, assisting people in finding solitude and peace inside themselves.
For instance, I am currently involved in an outreach effort whereby my drawings and letters are distributed to patients and healthcare professionals in order to raise their spirits. When you witness their smiles it might remind you of the human spirit’s tenacity and resilience, even in the face of overwhelming challenges. In a world full of despair and sadness, giving a glimpse of brightness to someone’s day through art feels like a little but big accomplishment.
4TinyHands: What advice would you offer to young artists who are looking to discover their artistic voice and express their unique views and thoughts?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Authenticity is key when it comes to discovering your artistic voice. Keep experimenting, exploring, and digging deep within yourself to create work that is true to who you are and what you believe in. Your unique perspective is what sets you apart and makes your art stand out.
4TinyHands: Could you provide insights into any upcoming projects or exhibitions you’re currently working on? Are there any new techniques or materials you’re eager to explore in the future?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): At the moment, I’m keeping my future projects and exhibitions under wraps so stay tuned! I look forward to sharing my new creations and ideas with everyone soon. In terms of techniques and materials, right now… I’m excited to explore calligraphy further, and I just plan to focus on developing my skills in the business sector for my academic pursuits.
4TinyHands: Could you provide further details about the multinational art project, the Welcoming Refugees Project, that you orchestrated from May 25th to June 19th, in collaboration with Students Rebuild?
Artist Faith Sycaoyao (NCLS): Thank you! I’d like to clarify that it’s a project by Students Rebuild that we chose to support voluntarily. I organized a nonprofit called NCLS Youth Charity Team, where we took part in the Welcoming Refugees Project from May 25th to June 19th. The project is aimed at assisting refugees and other displaced families all across the world through their partnered organizations such as UNICEF, Choose Love, Welcoming America, World Savvy, and Little Amal.
I’m delighted to have led a team that raised over $20,000 in three weeks with 3,000+ donated postcards to support this cause and make a difference in the lives of others. It is an honor to work with such passionate and dedicated individuals who share a common objective of creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for all.
Artist Faith Sycaoyao aka NCLS is not alone in her noble endeavor of using art as a force for good. Other inspiring individuals have also harnessed the transformative power of creativity to make a positive impact. Take, for instance, Sumita Bose, a mathematics teacher and hobbyist from Florida (USA), who crafts colorful cards and art pieces to infuse encouragement and hope into the lives of children and older people facing life-altering challenges. Similarly, artist Giselle Denis has directed her talents towards supporting various charities, including children’s hospitals and foundations. Their stories remind us that through artistic expression, one can touch lives, spread joy, and contribute positively to society.
If you enjoyed the world of NCLS, I invite you to visit artist Faith Sycaoyao’s Instagram account to discover other amazing pieces of art.
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