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  • Nic F. Anderson

Bad Ass of the Month: Annette Nowacki

Photo used with permission from Annette Nowacki

Bad Ass Woman of the Month is focused on women; who they are, what they do, why they do it, and why they’re so bad ass.

What makes Annette a bad ass? She is a musician, singer, artist, and customizes shoes for the people of Chicago.

Earlier in the year, Annette started customizing shoes after finding a pair of blank canvas shoes on sale and painting the one shoe. She later returned to store and found a pair for 24 cents; although they weren’t her size, she bought them anyways. Afterwards, she turned to Facebook, asking if anyone with a men’s size 10 wanted customized shoes, if so, to tell her what to design and to pay for paint.

Photo of Van Gogh themed shoes. Used with permission from Annette Nowacki

“The shoes honestly don't take that much time. I think I spent maybe six hours on the Simpsons/Nirvana pair. Balancing The Flips and work is definitely more of a challenge. I work as a line cook at Girl and the Goat, which means a 12-hour work day, but only four days a week. Weekends are mostly for performing and band practice or recording. Because I play synthesizer, I'm usually the last piece added into the mix, so that's when I'll be drawing or painting.” –Annette Nowacki

She enjoys creating art and says that the shoe project is a little more personable that her other stuff, “you can actually wear it instead of putting something on a wall”. When asked where she finds inspiration, the artist replied, “People are telling me what they like, so I'll put my own spin on it. My bassist told me he wanted an "In Utero" theme, but I happen to know he likes the Simpsons, and I love mashups, so I gave him a little of both.”

Photo of In Utero Simpson Themed Shoes. Used with permission from Annette Nowacki.

Some of the challenges that she’s faced thus far would be ensuring that the shoes fit the customer, which calls for her to meet with the customers face-to-face. The only requirements for the shoes that she needs are for the shoes to be plain canvas and a solid color. She promotes most of her art projects through Facebook and the hashtag on Instagram (#artbyannettejean). Annette’s favorite part is “Seeing people's excited, happy faces after they get them. It's totally selfish!”

“I'd like to have my art fund itself - it's therapeutic for me. If people buy shoes and pay for paint, I get to do more of what I love, and they get a cool, custom pair of shoes. Same thing goes for all my art - I'd like to be able to make a piece and sell it, and have it pay for the next one.”

–Annette Nowacki

Photo of The Flips performing at The Fire House. Photo used with permission from Annette Nowacki.

Annette is also a singer, keyboardist, and percussionist of The Flips, a rock band from the wondrous stress of Chicago. Playing in venues across the United States. Their music can be heard here. The band has upcoming shows at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, Hamilton St Pub in Saginaw, The Rockery in Wyandotte, Ashbary Coffeehouse in Willow Springs, The Camp/us in Chicago, DZ Fest 2016 in Hickory Hills, and many more. RSVP and get your tickets today here.

Photo of The Flips performing at The Metro. Used with permission from Annette Nowacki.

On other women doing what they love and running their own projects and businesses: “Do what makes you happy - I mean that fully. Also, sometimes your plans change and that's okay; no time you spent on something is wasted, you learned something.”

To follow Annette on social media:

Contact about getting a pair of customized shoes or buying art contact, click here.

“Like” Annette on Facebook.

To see Annette in action at a show, click here.

To follow The Flips on social media:

“Like” them on Facebook.

Follow them on Instagram.

Follow them on Twitter.

Follow and listen on SoundCloud.

Follow and listen to them on YouTube.

Get notified when they’re in a town or city near you with bandsintown.

For more information about The Flips, visit:

Photo of The Flips performing at The House of Blues. Used with permission from Annette Nowacki.


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