From a young age, Nekoda “Koda” Witsken was exposed to art in its various forms. With her grandfather as a cartoonist, her dad a landscape artist, and her mother attending art school, Koda was learning something new nearly every week. By the time she was a student at Hamilton Southeastern High School, Witsken’s passion for art was prominent.
“I had amazing art teachers throughout high school and college,” said Witsken. “Angela Fritz is still a teacher at HSE and she is the reason that I went into professional art. I also had great people at Duke and Purdue University that helped me develop my painting, as well.”
After graduating high school, Witsken earned degrees in history and business, then worked in the corporate world for almost seven years. At the end of 2018, she moved back to Fishers to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time artist.
“I moved back to be closer to my family and to take big chances,” said Witsken. “Once you travel the world, you appreciate how big the hearts are in Fishers and just how much the city is willing to invest in big ideas. I believe in this community and it believes in me, too.”
Since returning home, Witsken has completed projects in almost 10 cities throughout Indiana and is almost completely booked with art projects for 2020. She looks forward to a summer filled with vibrant art projects, some of which will be completed with Croix, her twin brother. While sharing her talents with various communities she hopes to break two common myths about art: that it is too expensive to be an artist, and that artists should work for free.
“Art is very accessible if you look in the right places. You can go to your local Arts Council, Nickel Plate Arts, High Frequency Arts, and so many other art consultants,” said Witsken when discussing ways artists can pursue their passion. “I encourage residents to support their local artists. Art is an amazing investment because it boosts economics, impacts the community, and supports a living, breathing person.”
The Yard at Fishers District is the latest location to feature Witsken’s talents. Rise’n Roll Bakery is home to three of her murals, which are displayed inside. This spring on Ikea Way, Witsken will begin a 30-foot by 9-foot mural titled Thanks for Being Weird with Me, which aligns with the entrepreneurial, spirited nature of the city.
“This piece kind of goes back to why I moved back to Fishers,” said Witsken. “It is not often you find a community that will take weird, artsy risks with you. Fishers is uniquely poised right now to for us to really make this place our own, not just through visual art but though music, literature, sculpture, and more. I would hope to be the artist that helps piece this all together and I want to be a part of this vision any way that I can.”