Studio Arts senior Nico Bude has been making art for almost his entire life.
He is from Watson, Louisiana, a small community outside of Denham Springs, and grew up doodling during car rides and learning how to draw simple characters from his father.
“My earliest memories were of painting…I’ve just been fascinated by it since pre-K,” Nico Bude said.
His mother, Ana Budde, first noticed her son’s artistic potential at his pre-K daycare. During the holiday season, classroom walls were plastered with drawings made by children. Each painting depicted Santa Claus and his reindeer, but Anna Bude found one to be “extraordinarily better” than the others.
“It was definitely different from the others … I was like, God, I wonder if that’s his — but that’s great,” Anna Budde recalled.
The following week, Nico Budde brought home his painting – which his mother noticed.
According to Ana Budde, her son knew at an early age what he wanted to be and his mind never changed.
“He knew he wanted to be an artist from the age of five,” Ana Budde said. “His teachers have always been his biggest supporters… they’ve always encouraged him and worked with him to be the best artist he can be.”
Nico Budde’s teachers were quick to see his talent for art, and when he was in kindergarten, they recommended him for a gifted art class.
Since then, he has been drawing, painting and creating whenever he gets the chance. But it wasn’t until he reached this age that he seriously considered art as a career.
“When I got into high school, that’s when I really started going, oh wait, I want to do this, not just for fun — I think I can make a career out of this,” Nico Bude said.
Chemistry senior Caitlin Hall has been friends with Nico Budde since middle school. She has had the opportunity to watch his art develop over the years and says his art is always improving.
“Even just in college, his art has gotten a ton better and I think he’s learned how to put his personality into the art better,” Hall said.
Nico Budde is of Costa Rican and Honduran descent, and his parents are from Louisiana. He grew up a huge LSU fan and decided to attend the university after going to a football game, where he was amazed by the energy from the student section.
He currently works for LSU South Stadium Productions, where he designs graphics for LSU’s swimming and diving teams.
When creating his art, Nico Budde often uses memories with his family and friends as inspiration, and credits Walt Disney and New Orleans-based painter Terence Osborne as major influences on his work.
“I’ve always thrived [creating] Things I hope bring joy to others, whether it’s LSU, or pretty colors or just fun pictures that I enjoy making myself,” Nico Bude said. “My main drive with art is to bring joy to myself and others.”
Niko Budde said that his parents always supported him to enter the art field.
“When I offered to take the commission, [my parents would] Be the first to share with your friends… To this day, working with South Stadium Productions, every time I do a little graphic, the next thing you know they’re posting a graphic like ‘Look what Nico did!’ said
Nico Budde is a part of the LGBTQ community. As a gay Latino artist, he found acceptance in the art community and felt his experiences as a minority enhanced his work.
“I think one of the great things about the art industry and the community in general is that it’s so diverse,” Nico Bude said. “Being a Latino [and] Gay, you know, it adds another level of color to the artwork.”
Painting professor Kelly Kelly taught Niko Bude’s introduction to painting class in spring 2021, and remembers him as “very energetic” and always excited to paint.
“[Nico] Always present, not just in terms of presence, but really doing your best in the present moment. He was always eager to learn and try new things,” recalls Kelly.
While Kelly described Nico Budde’s art as “expressive,” one particular piece caught her eye. He created an abstract painting for the class that was inspired by memories of attending a pep rally at LSU.
“It was abstract, so it didn’t depict a realistic scene, but rather the high energy and colors that stayed with him from the event,” Kelly said. “It evoked a sense of excitement and excitement.”
Kelly says she believes she creates a positive energy in her classroom that will rub off on others.
“[Nico] He seemed genuinely happy to be making art [and] Be creative… He mentioned wanting to teach art – I believe he will be an inspiration to young artists,” Kelly said.
LSU also noticed the art of Nico Budde. In 2020, LSU’s Office of Academic Affairs approached him to illustrate their holiday card. The card features a digital drawing of the Memorial Tower lit up with holiday decorations.
“It was a really good experience, and I honestly think it was ‘OK, this is something I can do for big brands’ that opened me up to South Stadium Productions,” Nico Budde said.
He was also featured as one of the students in an LSU commercial that aired at Tiger Stadium in 2020.
— LSU (@LSU) September 26, 2020
In the future, Nico Bude wants to continue making art that makes viewers feel positive.
“I want to continue making art that brings smiles to people’s faces,” said Niko Bude. “If at the end of the day, when all is said and done, if my art career makes people happy, then I’m satisfied.”