Custom artwork brightens the world’s most iconic mixer
It started out as mere a pastime, almost like a game: the first designs she painted were skateboards, guitars and motorcycle helmets. Then, 11 years ago, Nicole Dinardo took her brush to a KitchenAid mixer she received as a birthday gift from her mother. Yellow, her favourite colour, with lemons and a pinup: that was the first design she chose to give that mixer, which today, besides still being in her kitchen, is a reminder of how passion can be transformed into a lifework. That decorated mixer paved the way to a full-time occupation for this young artist: a thriving niche business that has spread to Europe, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Dubai and all the way to Africa from the United States.
“In 2005 I decided to give airbrushing a try: I began by painting skateboards, musical instruments and helmets. Then my mother gave me my first KitchenAid mixer for my birthday, suggesting that I get my airbrush out and paint it and later paint hers. That’s how it all started: after my mixer, I painted her mixer, then my friends’ mixers, then other friends’ mixers and so on. To get where I am today, I created and carved out a made-to-order business for myself, which I promote on social media. I also make sure my pieces are shown on TV and land in the hands of celebrities”.
Nicole Dinardo called her business “Un Amore”, an Italian word she deliberately chose with the intention of expressing her passion for art. “This has been my full-time occupation for more than 11 years! I have a 200 m2 shop where I display my best work and keep all the tools I need to create every single piece. It’s not the kind of work that can be done at home. It has to be done in a workshop, where I have the right materials and equipment to obtain the results I want. Moreover, the opportunity to work every day surrounded by pieces I’ve painted makes me feel grateful for all the time I spent painting them."
The process varies depending on the work to be done and its complexity. Of course, the seasons of the year also have an influence: Christmas is the busiest time of the year while the pace is decidedly slower during the summer. Floral designs, vintage motifs, pinups and more: the iconic KitchenAid mixer is a “canvas” which, with its sinuous curves, offers endless creative inspiration:
“KitchenAid is the leader in small kitchen appliances. The stand mixer is not only iconic; it is aesthetically pleasing. Although its curves can be challenging to paint, it is a canvas that really fascinates me. I've had occasion to see other painted small appliances, like toasters, period refrigerators, and electric can openers, but I prefer originality and innovation. Moreover, this particular appliance inspires not to rest on my laurels but to constantly raise the bar and to think about all the ways I can reinvent this extraordinary canvas. A functional art form that evokes the idea of Kitchen Couture!”.
In addition to the artist’s creative ideas are the ones that contributed by her customers, who directly choose how to customize their mixers. There is a wide range of possibilities – explains Nicole Dinardo – and this is where life stories play a role. “When it comes to customising, there’s often a story the customer wants to tell. Some create an heirloom to pass down with portraits of their loved ones. Others prefer flowers from their garden. And still others pay tribute to their four-legged friends to celebrate their strong bond”.
Functionality combined with creativity and passion, an explosion of colours and personalised images. For Nicole Dinardo, turning her customer’s ideas into reality is the most gratifying aspect of her work. Something that years later still delivers tremendous satisfaction: “Over the years I’ve received incredible letters of thanks, kind gestures from my customers to whom I am very grateful”. It’s all thanks to an original take on a household item that today has become a genuine pop symbol.
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