Above: Photographer Art Wolfe. Art is also a conservationist, humanitarian, and artist, not to mention the host of PBS's captivating series Art Wolfe's Travels to The Edge. His work captures the essence of indigenous cultures, the character of wild animals, and the heart of the natural world. Each photograph is an artistic experience. He even creates his own mind-blowing photographic compositions using the human form as art, as seen in his groundbreaking project The Human Canvas. Art's focused yet diverse expressions of creativity are a huge inspiration!! It was an honor meeting him at the B&H OPTIC Conference in New York. Check out his stunning books, classes, and work at

Dwayne runs The Lucky Miner and Amanda and her husband Travis run Colorado Rocks.

Above (left to right): Prospectors Amanda Adkins Anderson, Dwayne Hall, and Matt from The Weather Channel's captivating show Prospectors- one of my favorite programs ever! Photos are from the NY/NJ Gem and Mineral Expo. Their work ethic, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and appreciation of America's natural resources is inspirational beyond words.
They are truly rock stars! They're on facebook, and you can also check out their rockin' stores:

Above: Country Singer Risa Binder at Radio Station Z100's Zootopia concert. I was there to photograph her band led by drummer Charlie Zeleny but couldn't resit taking this picture with Risa because she was so cool. Fans were lining up with her CD in hand for autographs. Check out her work!

Above: Stacey Halprin in 2004, who was followed on the Oprah show for 25 years during her inspirational weight-loss journey which started when she weighed 550 lbs. Over the years she lost an amazing 360 lbs. As one of Oprah's most well-known weight-loss stories, Stacey has inspired countless people by allowing her personal journey, struggles, and triumphs to be shared with a national audience.

Above: David Amram, a world recognized composer of hundreds of jazz and classical pieces, performer and multi-instrumentalist for over 50 years. He does it all. He's contributed to SO many projects that you've probably been exposed to his work even if you haven't heard his name. Ever since meeting him, I've seen him interviewed TV several times. His influence is everywhere!

Above: Singer-Songwriter Spook Handy at a New Year's First Night celebration. His show was so good I stayed for a second performance. He puts on an excellent show. His song Vote is one of the best songs ever. It should be played on every radio station at election time. Look it up if you haven't heard it!

Above: Singer-Songwriter Kathy Fisher (known as "Fisher") at the music video shoot of her Beautiful Life video. I bought her CD in 2000 for $1.00 from a used record store (it was worth so much more!). According Fisher's site, by 1999 they were the most downloaded band on the web. I had heard her song True North a year earlier and meant to buy the CD but hadn't yet- but I never forgot that intoxicating song. After stumbling across the album in the "used bin" (a shameful place for such greatness- but glad I saw it), I became a fan of her other work. Years later I had the opportunity to be part of this video shoot in New York and am forever grateful for the experience!

Above: Ellen Fitton (professional audio engineer) and Scott Schecther (Liza Minnelli producer and author) at Universal Music Group during the production of Liza's Collector's Choice Music compilation album The Complete A&M Recordings. This was an exciting project to be involved with- hearing song samples in the studio and working with other departments to help piece this project together. Ellen's engineering skills are top of the line, and Scott's passion for Liza's music infused this project much enthusiasm!

In the third photo, the African man with the hat is a bongo drummer from a different band. He was in a wheelchair and he put on one of the most memorable performances ever! He got out of his chair on stage during the performance and danced professionally using his hands and body movement. The audience went nuts! I wish I knew his name- If you know who he is, let me know!

Above: First and second photos respectively: Terre Roche and Jenny Bruce record into Edison's phonograph. Third photo: Groovelily band- electric violinist and singer Valerie Vigoda, pianist Brendan Milburn, and drummer Gene Lewin.

Above: Thomas Edison Celebration at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC). Photo taken by me. Pictured are: The Roches, Valerie Vigoda of Groovelily, Singer-Songwriter Jenny Bruce, Jazz performer Kate Baker, band members & representatives from Edison's historical site. (I'm sorry I forgot your names! Contact me if it's you and I'll add your name).

Above: Singer-Songwriter Jenny Bruce and Jazz Performer/ Executive Director of the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center Kate Baker. During a celebration of Thomas Edison, performers recorded songs into an original Edison phonograph and later performed on stage together in a live concert. Some of my favorite songs by Jenny are St. Cloud and Soul on Fire. Special thanks to Kate Baker for the opportunity to intern with the OSPAC.

Above: Singer-Songwriter Jen Chapin, her husband/acoustic bassist Stephan Crump, and Guitarist Jamie Fox. The daughter of Harry Chapin, Jen has continued his music legacy while creating her own unique style, beautiful songs, and deep lyrics. This trio puts on an amazing show. Some of my favorite songs are Go On, Goodbye, Let It Show, Regular Life, and City.

Above: Country Singer Josh Turner (in the middle in light green) pictured with staff at Universal Music Group where I worked for four years. Josh came by one day and treated us to a live solo acoustic performance in the conference room. I think he played Long Black Train. I love country music- A great time was had by all!

Above: Artist Jeffrey Severn at the Licensing Expo. He has the funniest bear art ever! Humorous and clever, his work is bound to make you laugh. While looking through his portfolio, I came across Christmas candy cane stickers that I had as a kid! I LOVED those stickers. I had ordered them in the 4th or 5th grade from the Scholastic catalog which came to my school a few times a year, from which all the kids ordered books. Instead of books, I always ordered the giant sheets of stickers because I loved the hand-drawn illustrations. Little did I know Jeffrey Severn was behind some of them!

Above: British Pop Singer Mika and his drummer Cherisse Ofusu-Osei at a celebration of his 2007 album release, Life in Cartoon Motion- one of my favorite albums of all time. His live stage shows are like being at the circus. If you're not familiar with his music, the Parc de Prince- Live in Paris DVD is a great place to start. Boundless energy, costumed characters on stage, superb musicians, and hand-painted album art featuring his sister's creative style. The Mika world is a colorful place to become engulfed in art and music!

Above: Celtic Singer-Songwriter Susan McKeown at the OSPAC (Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center). I was interning there during college when Susan performed. Several years prior I heard her song Jericho on a Putumayo world music compilation CD and loved her style. What a great experience to see her full band performance in person!

Above: Derek Sivers (founder of CDBaby.com and TED speaker) and Ester van der Linden (singer-songwriter from the Netherlands) at the CMJ Music Marathon. I love Derek's inspirational talks and marketing techniques on his website. His speeches infuse a new sense of energy into life. Also pictured is Ester van der Linden promoting her album at the time called Still The Same. There's beautiful song on it called "Go".

Above: Singer-Songwriter Mary Fahl. What a voice! Formerly the lead singer of The October Project Mary's operatic voice channeled into pop and rock music creates a powerful unforgettable experience. I saw her perform with a 7-piece band which sounded like a full orchestra. Her song Into The Great Unknown is one of my favorites.

Above: Artist Michael V. Rios at the International Licensing Expo. Famous for his artistic collaborations with Carlos Santana, his bold art adorns everything from Santana's album covers to giant murals to posters and Grammy compilations. His recognizable style celebrating musicians, movement, and the Latino culture, has been enlivening blank surfaces for decades with energy bursting out of every piece!

Above: Suspense novelists Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark at a speech/ book signing where they told stories about their lives. One of my favorites was that Mary finished 11 manuscripts before any were published. Despite early rejections, she continued writing. When the door of opportunity opened, she had an entire body of finished work ready for the world. This reminds me of the saying "Luck is when opportunity and preparation meet". This mother-daughter team is pictured with myself and my mother.

Above: Artist Daniel Merriam at the Animazing Gallery, New York. I first saw Daniel Merriam's intricate paintings on a calendar for sale in my college bookstore. I became a fan and have since attended several gallery events to see his paintings in person. What amazing detail! His ornate victorian houses and surreal fanciful creatures make you feel like you entered a whimsical world.

Above: Doug Church- The Voice of Elvis. There are Elvises and then there are Elvises. Doug Church is the best! No tacky impersonations here- His voice is the real deal and his performance is top of the line. It was an unforgettable show. If you haven't seen him perform, look him up and maybe Elvis will be coming to a city near you.

Above: Rudy Ruettiger at a motivational speech and signing copies of his book Rudy's Insights for Winning in Life. It's like pulling teeth to get me to read a book unless it has large colorful pictures but I read every word of Rudy's empowering book and couldn't put it down! He was the force behind the amazing 1993 film Rudy based on his real life career at Notre Dame. Whether you're a sports fan or not, his story is a testament to the power of persistence and the human spirit.

The opportunity to meet her and see her perform at Radio City Music Hall was inspirational. Her songs Dante's Prayer and Full Circle are just as magical now as when I first heard them. The wealth of instruments and intricate arrangements in her work is unparalleled, not to mention she and her entire band had such warm and enthusiastic personalities! What wonderful people and skilled musicians.

Above: Loreena McKennitt and band members. In the late 1990's during high school, I discovered Loreena's music when her song The Mummer's Dance became popular. That song inspired me to begin writing poetry again (I had stopped for several years) and I haven't stopped since. Fast forward to 2007 when I had been working for Universal Music Group for several years. At that time, her music had just been licensed by the Verve label, under Universal.

Above: Gloria Estefan at a signing for her children's book The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle The Bulldog". What a lovely story! When I asked her advice for artists, she confidently said "Be ready for anything!" I have no doubt that her positive attitude and ability to adapt contributed to her much-deserved success as much as her stellar creative skills. It was fabulous meeting such a passionate and inspiring person!

Above: Singer-Songwriter Carrie Newcomer. If you haven't heard her music, you're missing out on a transformational experience. Her lyrics dig deep into the human experience extracting the stories and emotions which make this earthly existence as complex as it is. I saw her perform with just a guitar and pianist and it sounded like a full band. She puts on a beautiful show and her albums are equally moving. Some of my favorite songs are The Gathering of Spirits, Don't Push Send, Angels Unaware, Anything With Wings, Betty's Diner and Geodes.

Above: Artist Mary Engelbreit. While she might be known as the Queen of Cute, to me she is a modern day Norman Rockwell. Mary's ability to translate the deep range of human emotions onto paper is unparalleled. I've been using her daily desk calednars for years, which show a different drawing each day. There are so many meaningful details every illustration, creating scenes that touch the human experience. Her success in licensed products is admirable. This photo was taken at her signing for her illustrated Mother Goose book.

This page showcases people who I've had the privilege of meeting at various times in various places. I hope you'll take a chance to check out their work if you're not already familiar with it, as many of them have inspired me through their commitment to their craft and being the truest version of their creative selves.
~Nicole Denise

Famous Folks

Above: Chubby Checker, known for the dance craze, The Twist! American dance floors were never the same again! I met Chubby at the CMJ Music Marathon during my senior year in college at a panel discussion on the music business. Legend has it that Chubby lost many pounds while promoting The Twist to radio stations in the 1960's by demonstrating the dance to DJs so often!

Above: Artist Josephine Wall at the Art Expo, New York. As I approached her booth, I began crying because I was so moved to see such beautiful art in person. I tried to compose myself before meeting her- by trying to hide facing a corner of the booth hoping she wouldn't see me until I got in one piece, like an ostrich sticking his head in the sand. She was so kind and generous with her time and good spirits even though I made a fool of myself sobbing! Her work glows, as does her genuine personality and that of everyone who works for her. Her art is filled with hidden faces too. In addition to many licensed products, she has a magnificent coffee table book which will leave you in awe.

Nicole Denise Designs- Retailers