About Nicola

I began my creative journey as a young boy when my mother… a classical pianist, harpsichord player and teacher, began trying to teach me the piano. But the keyboard was not to my liking and the piano did not come naturally for me. That lead me to my mom encouraging me to study the trumpet, baritone and even the flute in junior high school, but those instruments did not work out either. I stuck with the trumpet the longest because I had a good female teacher at the time. My mother tried really hard to turn me into a musician. Maybe, if I had been set down in front of a drum set…since I’m ambidextrous, as a young boy, I might have been a professional drummer now but that didn’t happen either. One of these days I still might take up studying the drums (electric drums). Then my mother got me into classical ballet / modern ballet and I really liked that because it was very physical and I liked sports. I was usually the only guy in the ballet classes. After studying ballet for five years I finally stopped studying because my friends in junior high school teased me a lot while I was carrying my ballet shoes and clothes at school.  I did take some art classes in junior high school, drawing, a drafting class but I guess I was never really inspired. As far as art classes in high school I tried a printing and ceramics class but I really didn’t take to them either. As I remember the teachers were very mediocre. In fact most but not all of my teachers in public schools were mediocre. But that did change when I went off to college.

I recall as a child (about 7 or 8 years old) I had a dream that I can still remember to this day which I can still picture in my mind. My mind works in pictures / very visual (heavy on the right brain.) I was at my grandparent’s house and was sleeping in my grandfather’s big wood framed bed and in the middle of the night I woke up…at least I thought I was awake and on the white wall in front of the bed was a big rectangle of bright blinking colors…like Pointillism (distinct dots of pure color). There was no image in the dots just beautiful colored dots in a rectangle on the wall. I guess this was some kind of clue as to where I should go with my life but at the time I didn’t understand the dream.

After High School I moved up to Santa Barbara to go to college with my girlfriend Jayni but I was having too much fun surfing and working at a service station to make money, spending time with my girlfriend, kind of going to college classes but did not study very hard at that time. So, I got a new job cooking fish at a local fish restaurant in Santa Barbara. I really liked cooking, the restaurant was very busy and I got a lot of satisfaction making hundreds of perfectly cooked meals every day. Eventually, I became a kitchen manager at that very large seafood restaurant and decided to open up a restaurant of my own with a friend who became my business partner. Boy was that a bad decision. My so called lifetime friend took money from the business and was liar.  Anyway at the time we partnered up with a big developer in Huntington Beach at Peter’s landing to develop a new seafood restaurant concept. They hired George Lange a restaurant consultant from New York to help us come up with a new fish restaurant concept. The restaurant and concept were just being finished when my (wonderful) partner had some disputes with our contact with the developer at the site. The developer then terminated our contracts and door locks were changed. I was in my twenties and it was a tough life lesson. We were determined to open a restaurant so we finally found a space in Santa Barbara on State St. through a realtor friend of mine. We opened and owned that restaurant and nightclub for four and half years in Santa Barbara, Ca. It was a tough time in my life because I worked 100 hours a week and did not have time for anything else. After having problems with my (wonderful) partner the restaurant closed and I decided to go back to school. After some soul searching I decided to study fine art of all things. I did not know how to draw and knew very little about drawing, color or fine art. I got a job at a local restaurant cooking because I did not want to work long hours as a manager. After working hard at drawing and painting for a few years I ended up at the Art Institute of Chicago on a half scholarship and finished a BFA degree in painting and drawing and then when on to study at a graduate program in Computer Arts in San Francisco. To help pay for my rent and school I started taking on small graphic design jobs and eventually became a full time freelance graphic designer for many years. I was in the post back and graduate program for two years and left with out finishing because i was accumulating a lot of debt. During this period of time in my life when I was working full time, switching different jobs, had relationships and did my sports and exercised a lot so I did not have much time for making fine art.

During these years I had been keeping up some sports to stay healthy and sane, mainly handball, surfing, yoga, running, biking and skiing. All these different sports led to injuries, mainly low back, major sciatic problems, shoulder and hip pain issues. After seeing many physical therapists, chiropractors, and doctors and not getting any lasting results I turned to massage. After going through a few massage therapists I finally found a guy, chiropractor, massage therapist, who did Deep Tissue and Neuromuscular Re-education. I’ll call him “Dr. Pain.” Well after five or six treatments my low back issues improved quite a bit. So I started reading some books on deep tissue massage and practicing on my girlfriends and my athletic friends. I got to really know my body and what it really needed from massage to keep it healthy and active.
In 2005 I had a very bad fall off a roof while I was working as a low voltage sub contractor and dislocated and fractured my left femur.  In 2016 due to my 2005 fall I had a left hip replacement and completed 7 months of physical therapy.  In 2009 I had had enough of freelance graphic design and other jobs which I had started to do again and after some soul searching I enrolled full time at BTI (Body Therapy Institute) of massage in Santa Barbara. I now have over 700 hours of certified massage training hours and am a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca. My massage modalities include Deep Tissue Massage, Barefoot Deep Tissue Massage, Ashiatsu, Shiatsu, Compression Massage, Sports and Injury Massage, Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Massage, Neuromuscular Release, Swedish massage, Relaxing Massage, Reflexology Massage, Chair Massage, Lymphatic Drainage and some Asian bodywork. I also offer Healing Massage for Depression and Anxiety. As soon as I have over 1000 hours of certified massage training I plan to get my national massage license. I now work evenings at a spa and have my own massage practice in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Ca. during the day as a LMT.

I work with a wide variety of massage clients with many different ailments, athletes who want their muscles to perform better with better range of motion and clients who simply need relief from their stressful lives. I am personally committed to the care of each of my clients and in each case develop specialized treatments that best meet their needs. I specialize in Sports Therapy, Injury Rehabilitation, Deep Tissue and the relief of chronic pain patterns. I blend a yoga background with a number of therapeutic techniques from various modalities. My bodywork is often described as “very deep therapeutic massage with an aggressive / gentle healing approach to the body.”

I have also started making fine art again and have completed over 20 of 30 large mixed media paintings on the theme of “Water”. My water mixed media acrylic painting varies in size from three feet to seven feet. When I complete my 30 water themed paintings I plan to have my first real art show at a fine art gallery in southern Ca. Los Angeles Ca. area. I also plan to build and market my own web site for my art. Some of my more current paintings are on view when you get your massage.

Nicola is available for massage appointments Monday – Friday and by request, weekends. Please contact me (805-637-7482) with your preferred appointment times and please go ahead and look over my web site for more information.

updated 8/2017

Some photos of charity and community events I’ve been involved in.

Photos of Summit for Danny Charity


  • Montectio, CA October 24, 2009

I worked with a few other therapists and provided cool down chair and table massages for athletes competing in the charity.

Photos of Santa Barbara Marathon –  December 4-5, 2009


    This was a fun event held at the SBCC stadium and sports pavilion. I worked with many other massage therapists and we  provided warm up and cool down massage for athletes competing in the Santa Barbara Marathon. Assessed the needs of each individual athlete and selected the appropriate treatment. We performed warm up chair, table and mat massages on a diverse population of athletes focusing on each individuals needs.
    Pictures say a thousand words. Here’s what to expect at Riktr Pro Massage.

Photos of the BTI Crew

The next set of pictures http://riktr.com/wordpress/?page_id=237 are of the other massage therapists that attended the event and gave up their time for the athletes to give back to the community…a fantastic team of people from BTI. Thanks to Katie, John (the man) Harris, Erick, Sarah (for organizing it all) Ron, James, Gabriela, Candy, Kelly, Erin, Mary, Catherine, Onelia, Pilar and the other therapists that I probably missed. Also thanks to Fili and James from Nearly Chiropractic.


Photos of Santa Barbara Mothballs Criterium 2010-  January 31

Sonia Ross of the Kalyra Women’s Cycling Team, Julie a producer and MT from BTI and Chris of Riktr provided free Pre and Post race massage for the cyclists with all donations going toward Girls Inc. and the Race Across America 2010 which Sonia is a big part of. Sonia also teaches at BTI and has her own massage practice. Click on this link from Goodman Photography which has a lot of pictures of the cyclists competing:  http://www.goodmangraphic.com/extras/2010mothballs/ .  Echelon Santa Barbara a road bicycling club based in Santa Barbara, California sponsored the event.

To view all the pictures of the BTI crew at the Mothballs Criterium click on this link:  http://riktr.com/wordpress/?page_id=590

Photos of Opening Day at Valley Holistic Healing, Buellton, Ca. (VHH) May 1st, 2010.

To view all the pictures at VHH click on this link: http://riktr.com/wordpress/?page_id=1094

Recommended Video’s

These video’s are all good from humanity healing



Quotes from famous artists-


Remember- Nicola also has a BFA degree from Art Institute of Chicago in painting and drawing.

Picasso is the reason why I paint. He is the father figure, who gave me the wish to paint.
Francis Bacon
I paint for myself. I don’t know how to do anything else, anyway. Also I have to earn my living, and occupy myself.
Francis Bacon
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
Francis Bacon
…I paint German artists whom I admire. I paint their pictures, their work as painters, and their portraits too. But oddly enough, each of these portraits ends up as a picture of a woman with blonde hair. I myself have never been able to work out why this happens.
Georg Baselitz
I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me. 
William Blake
To see far is one thing, going there is another.
Constantin Brancusi
Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.
Constantin Brancusi
What is real is not the external form, but the essence of things . . . it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface.
Constantin Brancusi
Don’t look for obscure formulas or mystery in my work. It is pure joy that I offer you. Look at my sculptures until you see them. Those closest to God have seen them. 
Constantin Brancusi
Art is made to disturb. Science reassures. There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.
Georges Braque
Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.
Lewis Carroll
Don’t be an art critic, but paint, there lies salvation.
Paul Cezanne
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne
What is one to think of those fools who tell one that the artist is always subordinate to nature? Art is in harmony parallel with nature.
Paul Cezanne
All my life I have worked to be able to earn my living, but I thought that one could do good painting without attracting attention to one’s private life. Certainly, an artist wishes to raise himself intellectually as much as possible, but the man must remain obscure. The pleasure must be found in the work. 
Paul Cezanne
Great art picks up where nature ends.
Marc Chagall
The beautiful is in nature, and it is encountered under the most diverse forms of reality. Once it is found it belongs to art, or rather to the artist who discovers it.
Gustave Courbet
Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.
Salvador Dali
Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.
Salvador Dali
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas
What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.
Eugene Delacroix
When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artist to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn. 
Walt Disney
The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.
Lucian Freud
I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it’s what Yeats called the fascination with what’s difficult. I’m only trying to do what I can’t do.
Lucian Freud
The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.
Alberto Giacometti
My contribution to the world is my ability to draw. I will draw as much as I can for as many people as I can for as long as I can. Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.
Keith Haring
If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.
Edward Hopper
I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.
Frida Kahlo
There is no must in art because art is free. 
Wassily Kandinsky
A Good artist has less time than ideas.
Martin Kippenberger
I am rather like a travelling salesman. I deal in ideas. I do much more for people than just paint them pictures.
Martin Kippenberger
In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new; they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves; novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only; making a subject better from its intrinsic nature.
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec
Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.
Leonardo da Vinci
Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.
Rene Magritte
What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter.
Henri Matisse
Drawing is like making an expressive gesturewith the advantage of permanence.
Henri Matisse
. . I have always sought to be understood and, while I was taken to task by critics or colleagues, I thought they were right, assuming I had not been clear enough to be understood. This assumption allowed me to work my whole life without hatred and even without bitterness toward criticism, regardless of its source. I counted solely on the clarity of expression of my work to gain my ends. Hatred, rancor, and the spirit of vengeance are useless baggage to the artist. His road is difficult enough for him to cleanse his soul of everything which could make it more so.
Henri Matisse
Creativity takes courage.
Henri Matisse
If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.
Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.
I feel the need of attaining the maximum of intensity with the minimum of means. It is this which has led me to give my painting a character of even greater bareness.
Joan Miro
The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel. 
Piet Mondrian
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. Claude Monet
To be an artist is to believe in life.
Henry Moore
It is important to express oneself…provided the feelings are real and are taken from you own experience. 
Berthe Morisot
Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul. 
Edvard Munch
No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love.
Edvard Munch
So I said to myself-I’ll paint what I see-what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it-I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.
Georgia O’Keeffe
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way–things I had no words for.
Georgia O’Keeffe
I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
Claes Oldenburg
Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.
John Olsen
On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.
Jackson Pollock
The painting has a life of its own.
Jackson Pollock
Every good painter paints what he is.
Jackson Pollock
If you want to have clean ideas, change them as often as you change your shirts.
Francis Picabia
I don’t say everything, but I paint everything.
Pablo Picasso
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso
I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.
Pablo Picasso
Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
Pablo Picasso
There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
Pablo Picasso
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
Pablo Picasso
Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God.
You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat.
Pierre Auguste Renoir
It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.
Mark Rothko
For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh.
Georges Rouault
Everytime I paint a portrait I lose a friend.
John Singer Sargent
It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.
Vincent Van Gogh
The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.
Vincent Van Gogh
I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.’
Vincent Van Gogh
The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.
Vincent Van Gogh
I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs.
Andy Warhol
Why do people think artists are special? It’s just another job.
Andy Warhol
Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.
Andy Warhol
Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.
Andy Warhol
Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.
Andy Warhol
Death means a lot of money, honey. Death can really make you look like a star. 
Andy Warhol
An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
James McNeill Whistler
The fine art of painting, which is the bastard of alchemy, always has been always will be, a game. The rules of the game are quite simple: in a given arena, on as many psychic fronts as the talent allows, one must visually describe, the centre of the meaning of existense
Brett Whiteley
Art is the thrilling spark that beats death – thats all
Brett Whiteley
Everything is such a sort of stoned state… I walk around with a bunch of violets in my hand and a sledgehammer and a grain of sand in my head. I am happy.
Brett Whiteley


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