Nicole Hayden was born in Skokie Illinois in 1979, and brought up in Chicago. She attended several art schools including the Art Institute of Chicago, and has exhibited in the Chicago Cultural Center. While still a resident in Chicago, Nicole took part in several young artist programs such as the Marwen Foundation and Gallery 37. These activities influenced the continuing of her education at the University of Kansas in Lawrence Kansas. While at KU, she received scholarships for her figurative painting. After attaining a BFA from KU, she extended her fine art education at The California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco California. In the two year graduate program at CCAC, Hayden experimented and explored figurative painting, and has shown work in various art venues in the bay area including Southern Exposure, Sanchez Art Center, Gensler, Nexus gallery, The Lab, Hang Art and Adler &Co. After receiving a MFA from CCAC in 2003, she continues to live and work in San Francisco.