Nicky Lobo, Creative Slashie

Image by  Virginia Venn

Image by Virginia Venn

As a writer / editor / curator / yoga teacher, Nicky Lobo is the ultimate slashie - defining her career by her talents and passions, and not too worried about fitting anyone else's agenda. We love her (sometimes pants-free) approach to her work and her world. Thanks for coming by Nicky! 

What do you do?

I write (design/architecture), edit (words) and curate (events). Basically all things communication. Oh and teach (yoga). I also love to dance and sing, but these are definitely amateur pursuits, along with what my brother disparagingly calls ‘making smudge paintings’, and I optimistically call an art practice.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

Currently, a quote by Henry David Thoreau: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. Yessir.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

* My first full-time job as interior design assistant at Group GSA in 2003, which came about through a neighbour whose two girls I used to babysit. I have been completely, happily submerged in the creative community ever since.

* Work experience at Indesign Media in 2007 while I was studying Communications at UTS (after bowing out from interior design studies). What started as a 2-week stint lasted almost nine years and saw me grow professionally from an absolute junior burger into a real-life magazine Editor (of Habitus).

* Becoming a yoga teacher via BodyMindLife and InYoga. Stepping onto the yoga mat back in 2008 ignited an intense love affair… with myself haha. My yoga practice informs the way I see the world, my place in it, the way I treat myself and others.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

  • Curating the DENFAIR 2018 Speaker Space
  • Sub-editing the next issue of Men In This Town (MITT) magazine
  • Editing a book with career advice for Millenials, written by Bec Brown of The Comms Department
  • Writing about charity event Dance For Life
  • Writing stories for The Planthunter
  • A family history project
  • A solo road trip around the southern states of Australia (working title: La Loba, Queen of the Campervan)
  • A creative collaboration with my great friend Jess Noble exploring ethical fashion, called
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Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

Yes! I have an amazing circle of creative sisters, which includes ex-colleagues, old friends, new friends and a very special cousin who is my sage (as in wise, not a herb). It’s amazing how many in my social network have gone on to forge individual paths, and work and live in non-traditional ways. This network was always there but now being a freelancer, and therefore business owner, that aspect of my community shines as I have so many close friends to share, ask and learn with.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

One of my favourite artists is Van Gogh — terribly obvious, but I can’t help it. There was an exhibition at the NGA in 2010 that I kept putting off until there were only tickets left for the midnight session on the last night. So I convinced my sister to catch the train down to Canberra with me to see it. We went out for dinner and then to some terrible club for a pre-exhibition drink and d-floor bash. When it was time to go, we got into a taxi, which dropped us off at the wrong spot and we had to find our way through acres of parliamentary grounds in darkness before the gallery appeared before us like a glowing beacon. Once there, we took in some of the most important artworks in the world, in the dead of the night. It was thrilling. We had plans to go back out again but after seeing Starry Night in person I didn’t need anything else. I think this was when I realised that creativity really nourishes me.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

Listening — Live sets of German djs Andhim, hours-long clips of rain and thunder, classical music and live jazz. And I am always inspired by silence.

Reading — Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

Watching — I am notoriously lite when it comes to consuming television so it’s always comedy hour at my place: Broad City, Master of None, Seinfeld, The Office, Parks & Recreation and Peep Show are in my recent history. I am currently watching something slightly more serious, an SBS series about fashion and politics called States Of Undress. I also consider any doco about nature, the body or narrated by David Attenborough time well-spent.

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Gene Sherman of SCCI — my long-time intellectual and fashion crush who is searingly intelligent, dangerously elegant and chocolate-melty warm at the same time.

Image by  Virginia Venn

Image by Virginia Venn

Image by  Virginia Venn

Image by Virginia Venn

What is your dream project?

One in which I get to travel, create, connect, learn and move. I’m working on making my whole life a dream project…

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I was born in Pakistan, as were both of my parents, but my last name, Lobo, means ‘wolf’ in Spanish. Theory is that when the Portuguese colonised the south of India where my Dad’s parents were from (Goa), either the name was adopted or married into at some point. Hence the family history project. AND on my Mum’s side I also have English, Irish and Burmese heritage over the last two generations… and who knows what else. Which makes me a genuine mutt… most people when asked pick me as a Kiwi.

What places are important to you?

I’ve never lived anywhere but Sydney (yet), so I am pretty comfortable here. Friends, family, weather, landscape — all conspire to make me feel damn good. Melbourne seems to embrace me too. On brief travels, I’ve vibed with The Netherlands, New York and New Zealand. Italy I love. I am being drawn to Mother India pretty strongly, as well as Japan.

On a micro level, as a freelancer, the spaces in my home are extremely important to me. I feel relaxed and creative when I’m warm so I tend to follow the sun as it moves through my house. What I’m wearing also helps me feel like my best self, so that I’m aligned with my mood for the day. Sometimes this means a tracksuit or pyjamas, a flowing dress or business outfit with heels; sometimes yoga pants, sometimes no pants (one of the best things about working from home).

Lighting has a powerful impact on my sense of peace too — whether dappled natural light, the warm diffused glow of a lamp or the intimate flicker of candle.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

You wouldn’t worry so much what people thought of you if you realised how little they did. My friend Kylie pulled it out of a fortune cookie one day and it’s stayed with me.

My interpretation is: do what is important and lights your inner fire — regardless of anyone else. You don’t have to be liked by everyone (this was my main purpose in life for a long time so moving beyond that has been expansive).

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

My friend, journalist Jess Noble, and I have both become interested in ethical fashion over the years. The way it’s talked about in the media tends to be:

  1. confusing

  2. preachy

  3. depressing

  4. bland

…Which has the effect of repelling people from the conversation. That’s why we’ve set up The Good Outfit — to hopefully attract more people to the conversation, because shifting consumer attitudes is crucial in tackling environmental issues. Jess and I have decided that humour is our best weapon, and in order for it to be a sustainable project for us, it has to have lashings of fun poured all over it. Neither of us is technically from the fashion industry, so we’re approaching it as complete novices, like Year 4 kids doing a project about whales or dinosaurs — with gusto and openness, role playing and dress ups. The Good Outfit is ultimately a fun platform for us to learn about ethical fashion, and then share what we learn on Instagram, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and at live events.

Image by  Virginia Venn

Image by Virginia Venn

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What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

Q: What are my views on pornography?

A: Porn is one of those things, like power or religion, that can be incredibly positive, as well as dangerously destructive. It has the potential to alienate, and to reinforce damaging stereotypes and power imbalances; it also has the potential to inspire deep connection, creativity and sensuality. More subtle art forms, such as illustration, can be particularly elegant and powerfully suggestive. Or even needlework — check out Leah Emery’s intriguing cross-stitch — this depiction of graphic porn on such a refined and ladylike medium requires imagination; inviting collaboration, rather than just passive consumption.

How can we find our more about your work?

Instagram / @nicky_lobo  (although you will have to sift through dress-ups, selfies, knee rehab updates following an ACL reconstruction in August and cat photos to see any ‘work’)


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