Entrepreneur Nico goes with the flow
There are not many teenagers with their own business card, but Nico Bean has one.
And he is barely a teenager!
The 13-year-old has been running his own art business, Flow by Nico, for more than a year and has earned more than $2,000 selling acrylic pour paintings and other items on social media.
“It was really busy at Christmas,” Nico said. “I sold a lot of paintings and Christmas ornaments. I also had a lot of commissions.”
Acrylic pouring is a technique where acrylic paint is poured onto a canvas and allowed to flow over it to create an abstract and mostly random effect. The artist can try to direct the flow by shifting the canvas and choosing the colours, but that is largely it.
“The paint just has a mind of its own,” Nico said. “I do a lot of art. When I first tried acrylic pour I was not expecting very much. I used a different method from what I use now. It was a little bit of a mess.”
He switched up his technique and gradually got better.
“The paintings are not hard to do,” he said. “I find it relaxing.”
His mother, Laura Ann Bell, also an acrylic artist, is one of his inspirations. Sometimes she holds the canvas while he pours. Nico’s sister, Nyah, 8, also paints and sells her work on Instagram.
“Nyah watches while I paint,” Nico said. “I guess she is emotional support.”
The walls of their home pleasantly overflow with their artwork.
Nico’s grandmother, Anita Bean, is one of his champions. She helped him get started.
“I showed my work to my grandmother and she showed it around to her church friends,” Nico said. “Two people were interested.”
He sold his first painting for $50, then started an Instagram account to find more customers.
“Then people started saying I love this, how can I buy it?” Nico said. “So, we said we would take cash and we would deliver.”
Now, he often helps customers to hang the work, after it arrives, if they need assistance.
“I bought some hooks to use,” he said.
His mother uses the art business as a teachable experience for Nico.
“He is learning how to budget,” Ms Bell said. “Since his first sale he has bought his own art supplies with his own money.”
His grandmother has also helped with that.
“She is an investor,” Nico said. “I have a place where I save my money. I have a place where I put money towards other painting supplies, and a place where I put it towards things I want or need.”
Ms Bell said her son was also learning how to price and market his work.
He recently made his own marketing video on Instagram, talking about himself and his work.
Nico’s dream is that his art goes far and becomes recognised.
“I have been inspired by many artists,” Nico said. “My mother is one of them, but also an artist called Frida Kahlo.”
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who died in 1954 at the age of 47
“She did self portraits,” Nico said. “I don’t do self portraits, but she used lots of vibrant colours which I like. She had a really traumatic life. It is amazing what she went through. I did a project on her in school.”
He is a student at Somersfield Academy and takes art classes with Carolyn Toogood.
“The art programme at Somersfield is very nice,” he said. “I think it is well structured. Classes are fun and I always look forward to them.”
His work is currently on show in the Bermuda Society of Arts Member’s Winter Show at City Hall in Hamilton. It is his time appearing in an art show. He was also in the Fall Juried Members Show at BSoA in 2021.
He was really excited the first time he saw his work on the wall of the gallery.
“I was like wow, that’s my work,” he said. “And it was a juried show.”
The M3 student still has a few years left to go before college but is considering studying visual arts in England.
In addition to acrylic pour he also does other forms of art.
“Sometimes I post it on my Instagram,” he said. “But it is just for fun. I don’t think it is as good as the acrylic pours.”
He also loves football and plays with the North Village Community Club.
Recently, he paid his grandmother back for her kindness, by helping her to set up her own Instagram account to help with her floral arrangement business.
For more information see @FlowbyNico on Instagram.