Igniting creativity

Nick Levesque
4 min readFeb 17, 2024

Celebrating 5 years of the matchstick art that made me

Today marks 5 years since creating my matchstick silhouette art, Red Hot. It’s one of my most celebrated pieces and ironically created during a low point in my life. To spare you the melodramatic details, let’s call it an abrupt separation from someone I had grown strong emotions for.

Feeling more alone than ever, I sat in my one-room apartment next to a pile of used matches in the lid of my candle. Intrigued by their repetition, I began to move them around and play. I quickly landed on the shape of a silhouetted human head with burnt ends towards the back and two matchstick tip lips in a pop of bright red.

Often people have a romantic idea of how art is created — the trope of the artist stumbling upon inspiration. In my work I’m often solving a specific problem and searching for ideas to communicate. But this was one of those rare instances where there was no intent to create something, but something somehow begged to be created.

After snapping a picture, it sat on a white poster board on my floor under a chair for a month. It wasn’t until a friend came up to my apartment while I was grabbing something, saw it, and made me feel like it was something special worth sharing.

Now, 5 years later, I’m so grateful for this piece — how it pulled me out of a dark time and how it’s been received. Here are some of my favorite ways it has been celebrated over the years:

Recognized by Communication Arts, ADC, 3x3 Magazine, and others.

On strangers’ skin forever.

Part of The Museum of Avant-garde’s permanent contemporary collection in Switzerland.

Reposted and shared by so many on Instagram, including Stefan Sagmeister, Guy Hepner, and most meaningfully, Iranian women in protest who saw themselves in this work.

And now it exists in several forms, like prints, shadow boxes, and sculptures, for those who wish to share the love and hang a symbol of resilience in their home.

The Director of Inside Out Pete Docter once said, “There are days you’re gonna feel sad, you’re gonna feel angry, you’re gonna be scared. That’s nothing you can choose, but you can make stuff. Make films. Draw. Write. It’ll make a world of difference.”

You never know when creativity may strike. 🔥

nicklevesque.com | Instagram | Twitter | Shop