Nicholson drew motivation from doubting college professor

Sunday, February 6, 2011
Nicholson's 2005 paint scheme for Ron Capps's Brut Dodge Charger Funny Car remains one of his favorite creations. (Photo courtesy of Michael L. Levitt, USA LAT Photographic)

Bloomfield native Brett Nicholson moved up the ranks with his sights set on someday being involved in the racing industry.

In the back of his mind was something a college professor once told him.

The professor, who remains unnamed, urged Brett to give up on his dream to be an automotive designer because it probably wasn't going to happen.

Not deterred, but motivated, Nicholson worked from that day to create his own niche in the racing business.

He's quick to point out that he received some other great advice and guidance dating back to his high school days at Bloomfield.

Brett says his art teacher, Deb Johnson, provided him with the inspiration to get his career started.

"She directed me and steered me to go into graphic design. When I was a senior at Bloomfield, I was trying to figure out, like many people are, what I was going to do with my life and career, and I didn't know. She encouraged me to look into graphic design. I didn't know what it was at that time," he recalled. "While I was down there at Bloomfield doing my thing through high school, I did a lot of drawings of cars. It was something that I enjoyed and I could see possibly doing later on as a career in life. I feel like a lot of my ties to my career and what I do first started at Bloomfield High School with Mrs. Johnson," he explained.

Also, Nicholson said he also gleaned some experience through his 10 years in the 4-H program where he did the model building project and various fine art projects with great success.

"I did a lot of race cars and monster trucks in the model building and also did fine arts and drawing and again mostly did cars and trucks," he said.

Looking ahead, Brett remains optimistic that his career will continue to accelerate.

"I would like to say I'll still be doing this many years down the road because this was a goal and a dream of mine and I fought, kicked and screamed and scratched and got there and still love it dearly. I don't see myself doing anything differently anytime soon," Nicholson said. "My goal at this time is to make even more of a name for myself ... the thing with the industry in motor sports and designers in general is people just don't know who does this stuff, so a lot of times if it's not friends or families or connection that you've made yourself, nobody knows who's doing this stuff."

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  • Great job Brent! Another example of a teacher making a difference. The college professor should be named so students can take a diffent class.

    Mrs. Johnson has affected so many local and national artists.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Fri, Feb 4, 2011, at 4:26 PM
  • I loved the BRUT car and have a Ron Capps signed picture on my wall. Beautiful paint and design!

    -- Posted by greenetucky on Fri, Feb 4, 2011, at 7:35 PM
  • Yes, bravo to Brent and Deb Johnson. This is a shining example of how math, science, and english test scores are not the only way to success.

    -- Posted by aceofhearts on Sat, Feb 5, 2011, at 9:06 PM
  • Mrs. Johnson was a great art teacher and has had quite a few students go on to find careers in art, design and even tattooing. I wound up in engineering, but one of my favorite classes in college was drawing. I was able to shut off the logical side of my brain for a few hours and just draw. Thanks to Mrs. Johnson, and congrats to Brett.

    -- Posted by corbinsa on Sun, Feb 6, 2011, at 10:23 PM
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