Interview and photos by intern Rachel Kim
Who are you and what do you do?
Nick McPherson. I have been doing art and design in San Diego for around 9 years now. I am originally from Texas where I got my degree in design from TCU.
What work do you most enjoy doing?
I would have to say illustration work and working out an idea from start to finish with just pen and paper. It's hard to really say. I really just like the creative process for any project. I wanted to do design so I had access to any kind of medium I wanted. Whatever works best for the idea, I could do. Printmaking, photography, sculpture, whatever creative medium was available for the project, I could use and knew how to use was always important to me.
What's your strongest memory of your childhood?
Sitting in church and drawing because my mom would not let me bring books or toys so I would draw and I think it really helped me develop as an artist.
What are you using for reference in your illustrations?
I hardly ever use reference, but I think I should do it more. Figure drawing class in school was the best thing for me as far as becoming better as an illustrator, but most of it I make up as I go.
Do you have a plan when you start a piece or is it something that happens organically as you are working?
It starts with what I picture in my head and then you fight to make that image come out exactly as you see it. Sometimes it comes out perfect, and sometimes not but you can surprise yourself and it turns out better than you expected. I would say there is an organic thing that happens. The idea builds upon itself once you get it down on paper.
How did you come upon using vintage photos in your artwork?
I found some old photos piled up on a table at the swap meet. I tend to collect things and think that I am going to use them in some project, which usually results in stacks of various art projects. I had these photos and started doodling on them and I posted a few and I got a lot of response so I kept it going. It was just a little side project that made me laugh and it's turned into something bigger. I think people react differently to old photos, some of them are kind of creepy and realizing that these are real people. When I draw on them I think I am taking out the seriousness of it all and when they make me laugh, I know they are good.
What influences your work?
I would have to say vintage cartoons, Mad Magazine, vintage toys, old stickers, and architecture. I can really list things forever. I think it's very important for artists to be very observant as the creative process is always going and what is around you can really influence new ideas.
What is your dream project?
I can't really say. I would like to do more murals, work bigger. I want to keep being creative and have the opportunity to do more and more projects with new tools or mediums to make something that I have never made before. New and different stuff.
What's next for you?
More art shows coming up, new book with more photos soon, action figures, some backpacks and luggage, and always staying busy. Making new stuff everyday.