Archive for January, 2022


When you visit Nikolina’s website for the first time, you will arrive at open green door beyond which colorful birds commingle with vibrant flora and fauna. You will find yourself wide awake in a dream world. Images narrate stories and unleash myths. Here nothing is impossible, or out of place. Oversized flamingos walk freely on city streets and inhabit vibrant palaces. The feel of fairy tale lingers in every scene. It were as if our ordinary lives aree but boring closets, her work is the Narnia which lay beyond them.

Nikolina Petolas’ is an accomplished artist. Her work was among the first I encountered in the NFT space. It has stayed with me ever since. I admire it frequently. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing her.

What do you wish more people understood about your work? 

My works are imaginary, fantasy stories. I love to take viewers on a journey through my fictional world. These stories and characters often appear in various environments, bringing viewers often more than just aesthetics, telling little stories about life, our journey through it, through struggles and fears, about being lost and finding ourselves again. I wish people would look at my work as a whole, rather than just as individual pieces. I’ve created these stories for the past nine years, so although every piece is approached individually, through observations and feelings, they are parts of the whole imaginary universe. 

Dust Devil

I love art that is not obvious, that raises questions. My stories are like a modern fable, animals being presented not always as animals we know, but also as personified characters, sometimes being playful and inhabiting man made places, living there in harmony, and sometimes also carrying a burden. This world is anti(utopian), presenting harmonious sceneries and peaceful situations. However, it often contains elements of allegory and irony and we don’t really know when things can turn for the worse, and go to the dark side. 

Which of your pieces do you feel most deeply bonded with?

 I don’t have a favourite piece. My goal is to create each piece as a part of a bigger puzzle and I give everything I have to each artwork. It takes a long time to create each one, and although some pieces turn out better than others, I think each one is equally important.  They are all a part of the world I created, showing us various sceneries, with cinematic feel. 

Sometimes I like to see them as screenshots of an imaginary story, and I love to capture glimpses of that story. There is always a lot of emotion involved in creation, but also when viewing your own art later on, and it would be strange to judge artworks according to that. Some days I feel better about certain artworks than the other, then it changes in a day or two later. Some things don’t depend on me, either. I don’t have all the answers why I do what I do. Art also chooses us, and I let that something, like an intuition to guide me through creative process. That’s the beauty of it. When I let that happen, some incredible things come alive.  

The Herd

In what ways have NFTs changed how you tell stories?

Not much has changed for me, art-wise. My bodies of work existed before Nfts, and I found that the Nft market is an excellent opportunity for me to continue my work, and share it to the wider audience. 
I worked on my personal visual stories for a decade, coming from the traditional fine art scene, so it’s not that this is the first time I started doing my own art, after doing years of commercial work.  However, since this space is so dynamic and prone to experiments, I also find myself exploring a lot of new areas of creative development and I really enjoy it.  

Has the ability to create NFTs shaped the physical artwork you create?

Majority of my art is digitally created, so transition to releasing my new art as Nfts was very natural for me. I have not released my oil paintings as Nfts, but who knows what I’ll decide to do with the future ones. 


What artists in the nft/digital arts space inspire you?

It is very hard to name them, because there is just too many.  I met online many concept artists, whose work I admire, and somehow this made the great impact on my art before, as I love to create sceneries myself, and pay so much attention to the composition. There are also incredible 3D digital artists and animators, photographers, traditional artists. The space draws such such talent and quality, and almost every day I find something new and remarkable to admire.

To learn more about her work and to follow her on the journey, connect here.

Read Full Post »

I recently discovered an artist whose work moves me deeply, inspires me to write, and to collect every piece he creates. His future collection is stunning. Each piece captures a moment in life and transports us there. Whatever we are doing: reading, playing online, thinking of our past, we’re invited to stop for 8 sacred seconds as his work plays.

This work invites us to our childhood soul: into that quite place of beauty and self-reflection. I am grateful for him. Here are my poems that were inspired him.

Life Inside by Omid Kzemi

In collaboration, I wrote this poem that accompanies this gorgeous NFT.

Saffron and morning prayer
Ancient words float in the air
Your mysteries wrapped in red
Hidden in the carpet’s silk.

I was inspired to write two more poems. The first for one of his works in progress, which I was able to glance at before it was released. I’ll share the work with you as soon as he releases it.

Somewhere in the bloom 
Between this world and beyond
Your bluest eye returns to me 

Memories of you grow
Vibrant and serene

Here I will wait 
Between what I cannot hold
And what I cannot see

Finally, his work Window of Hope.

Window of Hope

In its honor, I wrote this poem:

In the darkest places I invite you in
To heal all that you can’t see
The perfect words cast behind me
As shadows of the tree

Omid Kazemi’s work is among the most beautiful I’ve seen. I know it will move you, too.

Read Full Post »

Here are two Flash Fiction Stories I recently wrote

Photo credit

My Roadtrip to You

I knew he had decided to end my life. And I knew the only way out was to end his. He pulled over at the rest stop to “use the can.” And when he returned, I did. And then I ran: the salt from my tears, the lights reflecting off of the cold rain, the lights dancing all over the freeway, all was a blur. 

When this bearded trucker hit the old man with his Mac truck, I said nothing. He didn’t so much as flinch. Once, driving with you, we hit a squirrel. You made me stop and bury her. You said a prayer, and you made me pray, too. “Did you see that?” he asked me about 10 minutes later. “No,” I said.


“ Good.

But I did see it. And he knew I saw it. And I knew, he knew. “

Drink this,” he said handing me a flask. “The flavor, licorice with a bite like mouthwash.” “

What’s wrong, boy, never had a man’s drink?”

 He asked. 

“Not like this one.” 

I only hitched a ride on this massive Mac truck to be with you. Flying terrifies me. We both know I can’t rent a car. Not with my credit.   I thought of coming to you on horseback with roses, or in a Greyhound with seniors singing show-tunes. 

 “Can you..can you drop me at the next city,” I asked him.

 “Next what, city boy” he taunted, “you don’t like our road trip” 

“I love it, I just need to wire some money.” 

“Wire some money my ass, city boy.”

Johnny Cash broke our silence.

God I love you babe. To infinity and back, infinity and back. Wait for me babe, wait for me… 

Good Pea

He was the mostly unlikely cross-country star. He started running to runaway, away from Penny Larson, and the crew of giggling friends who whispered, “pea” under their breath; away; away from Brice, who gave his puke green, beat up, beauty of an El Camino the name “pea,” which stuck. Later it became his name. “Run pea, Run,” they teased at every event, every moment really. He wanted to tell them to “shut up,” but stuttered so badly with the “S” sound that he said nothing. Ever after placing in each and every cross country meet that seasons, after becoming the Wildcat legend, he walked hiding in his hoodie like a ghost trying not wake the living. The living. They could never understand their taunting brought him this strange, morbid pleasure. Nightly he reenacted it with the toys from his childhood. “You’re a good pea,” he’d whisper grasping the green toy solder, “a Special one,” he’d say without stuttering.

Read Full Post »

Some artists inspire me to create.

Their work “speaks to me.”

I take what I hear and translate it into poetry.

See his beautiful work

This work, in particular, spoke.

In honor of the artist and his vision, I wrote this poem.

A Prayer for the Sword

Brave sword, covered in flowers, stand with me now and always.

I am spirit. I am wind. 

I am: 

The sun’s last light on fishermen’s villages 

I am:

A dark net gliding 

on the still river.

I bow to you now

you who I cannot see

you who I have know all my life

You, the nameless one

Did I create you, or did you create me? 

I’ve seen too much to capture: 

Plastic bottles discarded like cut flowers 

Red flowers: blood of my blood 

All brings me back to you.

My soul is not from here: 

It is song, and I am voice

It is warmth, and I am sun.

When all the warriors have died

You appear to me in a dream

Commanding my return

To a new world 

Made by my own hand


Read Full Post »


In the fall of ’98, Trevor and I decorated pumpkins for Halloween. Mom gave us paint, brushes, and two carving knives. I painted mine blue. That year I dressed as papa smurf, and the pumpkin matched my costume. Trevor painted his a dark red. He made the color by adding purple, and black, until the shade of red was just right. 

I painted my pumpkin with big, clumsy strokes. He was exacting with each stroke turning the pumpkin’s flesh the color of the layer beneath our skin.

“Do you like it? Do you get it?” He asked.

“Yea bro, yea.”  “Let’s do this,” he beckoned.

We grabbed our pumpkins and headed to the freeway overpass. Sometimes, we could see into the cars: laughing families, fighting families, families in costumes, or tired single men driving to nowhere. Watching them calmed me, like watching clouds.

Then terror.

A bone-cracking scream. From some animal place, Trevor screamed. His desperate and euphoric cries entered my ears, my nerve system, and my bones. As the minivan neared the overpass, he released his pumpkin.  The windshield broke. Trevor giggled joyfully. The car slammed into the tree.

“I did that,” he boosted. “I. did. that!” 

I’d like to say I helped that family, but I ran home through the forest I knew too well as fast as I could

. Mom was making Mikie Mac & Cheese. “Want some honey?” she asked. “No, I”m good, I’m good.”  “What happened to you hands?” she asked. I wanted to explain the red away, and I thought of every excuse and possibility: we hit a deer, had bloody nose, or Trevor cut himself…But before I could answer she said, laughing:  “They’re so blue.”

Read Full Post »

The Caged Bird

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@deleece

I don’t know where the sunsets
Maps perplex me
I’d rather hang them than use them

I am constantly disorientated
Seeking directions from hotdog vendors
And women whose headphones protect them
From questions of any kind

When I am urgently lost I remember
Even five-year-olds can find themselves
On children’s maps

Does asking taxi drivers
For landmarks
Make me less of a man?

My request reveals too much:
That I can’t kill a bear
Assemble furniture
Or recite stats from last night’s game

I live in the state of lost
A pleasurable trance
between “you can’t miss it,” and “take a right on Elm.”

The truth? I’d rather keep
Driving, dreaming, running, thinking
Then stop

Twice I didn’t
at 3 I ran in terror 
At 21 I ran in bliss
Naked on the streets of Paris Amsterdam Prague

I awoke at home
Like a parrot that flew away
Finding himself years later back
In a cage left open for him

-ZB 1/1/22

Read Full Post »