Interviewed in March of 2016 by John Cardinal
Hometown: Allston, MA | Current town: South Pasadena, CA | Website: CLICK HERE
1. Nick, tell our readers a little about where you’re from or where you grew up… and how does that influence the type of art you’ve found yourself making?
I grew up in the middle of Boston and had a pretty rough and tough childhood. I think my work covers a variety of moods, but nothing really reflects the difficulties I faced growing up, as the act of drawing took me out of that zone. I try to make things funky and playful, aspects I grabbed from watching a lot of Nickelodeon.
2. The company you co-founded “Lay Waste Games” just finished an amazingly successful Kickstarter and is set to Release “DRAGOON” an action strategy board game. Please tell us about DRAGOON, and what it was like applying your visual aesthetic to a board game.
Definitely, the coolest project I’ve worked on so far. The game actually just shipped to backers and will be on (certain) store shelves soon!
There was actually another artist on the project before me, and he was a traditional tattoo artist. The game looked very old school fantasy, which didn’t appeal to me. Eventually, the previous artist left the project, and I stepped in on the stipulation I could redesign everything. Being in total control of the visuals for such a big project was amazing.
3. The computer is obviously a tool you are comfortable with. How much planning do you do on paper before sitting down at the computer? And to that matter what programs do you create most of your work in?
Everything I make is done 100% with Photoshop. I don’t even sometimes use Illustrator anymore, and if I need to, I ask someone else for help. Any work I make that will eventually be printed or produced, is begun and finished on the computer. I keep a traditional sketchbook or two for inking doodles but there is no overlap anymore.
4. Who are some of your influences?
These guys don’t necessarily influence my style, but seeing their work gets me pumped to make more work of my own. Andrew MacLean, Keith MacLelland (who was a teacher of mine and guided me a ton), Nick Bear, Sam Bosma, Kali Ciesemier, Lily Padula, Andrea Kalfas, Chris Visions, Scott Bakal, Logan Faerber, and tons more. All worth Googling.
5.) Illustrators typically tell stories with a single image or panel. Comics let you tell that same story over as many images or panels as you like. You recently debuted your first full comic “Infinite Loop” at MICE. How was that received, Did you enjoy that process, and are there more comics coming soon?
Oh man, that comic is actually pretty bad. I got some good feedback on it, and it was my first attempt, so I don’t feel awful. I will be attempting more comics, but it doesn’t come as naturally as I had hoped. Buy it, though! I got 20 or so copies left.
6. Congratulations on your recent cross country move. What do you think you’ll miss the most about living in New England? The snow… right?
I’ve lived in LA for about 6 weeks and there’s already multiple instances of it being 80 degrees here while Boston is covered in snow. I’ll miss the people and their accents.
7. At first glance, your palette appears to be very simple. Mainly complementary colors, but it’s those third and fourth colors you add that give your images depth, mood, and focus. Can you talk a little about your approach to color?
My goal is to make the colors look great together. I want the colors to stand alone, be pretty in their own right, and get the idea across without having to rely on reality. Grass doesn’t need to be green, the sky doesn’t need to be blue.
8. Who is the most underrated artist out there right now that you think should be in next years volume of Chroma?
The MOST underrated?! It would be hard to pick just one. I know Miguel Centeno makes amazing comics and should be checked out at FutileComics.com
9. What’s the most challenging part of building a career as a professional artist? i.e., family, $$$, time, inspiration, networking, etc…
The fact that you have to wear so many hats. You have to research and find so many people that would maybe hire you for a job that will last 2 to 4 days. You have to make a diverse enough portfolio that will get you different types of jobs. Making the actual art feels like it’s 20% of the work, at most, when everyone wishes it was 80%.
10. You’ve had the opportunity to work with many great clients: Coca-Cola, Best Buy, and Jeep to name a few. Anyone you’ve always wanted to work with that you haven’t had the chance to yet?
Plenty! I would love to do something for The New Yorker, as well as Nickelodeon. Those would be my top 2. Also, would love to do a personal commission for Shaq.
11. What’s next for you?
Dragoon is going to be out there, so Lay Waste Games will start on another game project. Other than that, hopefully, you’ll see some editorial pieces in some magazines this year. Some secret things possibly. Maybe. Follow @TheNazzaro on IG to find out!
12. Bonus Question: Are churro ice cream sandwiches as good as I think they are?
Eat one. Your mouth will never be the same.