One day, Nicole Dinardo was conducting business as usual when she got a phone call that would change her life. It was Oprah’s personal chef, and Nicole was informed that Oprah wanted to purchase one of her custom painted KitchenAid mixer.
The artist, who is based in Arlington, Washington, would soon get used to requests for custom KitchenAid mixers from celebrities. Her brand, Un Amore, would eventually get similar requests from famous names like Khloe Kardashian, Gwen Sefani, Ree Drummond, Beyonce, Drew Barrymore, and Guy Fieri.
When asked how many she has hand painted, Nicole answers: “I have to have done thousands. I used to number them all but I stopped, I think I stopped at like 500.”
Her designs were prominently featured on Ree Drummond’s stand mixer, which appears in her Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman. Inspiration for her original design for Drummond’s mixer came from the background art in the Pioneer woman’s very popular cookbook.
However, Nicole notes that just because she does have many celebrity customers, anyone can contact her for a custom order. She also says that you can get pretty much any design your heart desires, whether it’s a family photo, a pattern, or pretty much anything else you can think of.
It all began years ago when she decided to hand paint a KitchenAid mixer that her mother gave her as a birthday gift. She eventually grew this enjoyable hobby into a successful business.
Nicole says: “In 2005 I decided to give airbrushing a try: I began by painting skateboards, musical instruments and helmets. Then my mother gave me my first KitchenAid mixer for my birthday, suggesting that I get my airbrush out and paint it and later paint hers.”
She continued: “That’s how it all started: after my mixer, I painted her mixer, then my friends’ mixers, then other friends’ mixers and so on. To get where I am today, I created and carved out a made-to-order business for myself, which I promote on social media. I also make sure my pieces are shown on TV and land in the hands of celebrities.”
She chose to name her business “Un Amore”, an Italian phrase that means “a love” in order to emphasize how much of a labor of love her work is and to illustrate her passion for art.
Dinardo explained: “This has been my full-time occupation for more than 11 years! I have a 200 m2 shop where I display my best work and keep all the tools I need to create every single piece. It’s not the kind of work that can be done at home. It has to be done in a workshop, where I have the right materials and equipment to obtain the results I want. Moreover, the opportunity to work every day surrounded by pieces I’ve painted makes me feel grateful for all the time I spent painting them.”