Nick Beery Interview Part I

Ladies and gents, we’re back with another great interview, and this time round we have the pleasure of getting the inside story from one of the longest-standing designers to have contributed to Springleap over the years. Here’s a designer, illustrator and thinker whose work has grown in leaps and bounds – and who’s now showing in solo exhibitions, has his own line of merch and has worked with some serious heavyweight brands, not to mention some awesome bands too. Please put your (virtual) hands together and welcome the one & only NICK BEERY!   SL: Hey Nick and thanks very much for giving us time for this interview. OK – straight onto the topic: you’ve got a lot of different work up on your Nick Beery Collections page on Facebook. They feature a variety of subjects, but the psychedelic rework method seems to be a common theme – is this a favourite technique of yours, and would you consider this a signature treatment?   NB: Most all of my work these days implores specific genre or culture referencing. Whether it be a zombiefied musical artist or intense animated characters (Hobo Eaters) there are several turn-keys to present the work as vivid, shocking, and even subversive. As an illustrator I rock a specific methodology to produce works that have a tactile hand drawn/painted feel but widely use scans of various materials and textures, integrate custom digital brushes for splatters and drips, and get heavy in millions of Pantones at my disposal which culminates a product that bends the lines of what is completely done traditionally to more digital and modern techniques. The end result is what I refer to as the Pop Candy effect where the various layers of an image reveal an integrity of grittiness and also solid overtones of saturated color palettes typically on warped subject matter. The end result is a dynamic which breathes new life (and sometimes death) into the various character based subjects I introduce into my collections. All in all it is a balance of visual fundamentals while occasionally tossing a flaming Molotov cocktail of colors into an already overfilled shark tank of gasoline, unicorn meat, and potatoes.   Nick Beery Interview Part I   SL: Of the many series on your Collections page, we really dig the ‘It’s a Cruel World After All!’ – it just rocks on so many levels. Can you give us a little background on your work on this collection?   NB: My official artist statement is a summarized version of an art history lesson (specifically in the traditional animation field), social commentary on proverbial lynch pins in the corporate brainwashing agenda, and rhetoric on intellectual property rights.   A) Firstly the collection is a tribute to the original animated character creator of all time Ub Iwerks. If your into anything that has to do with animation, character development, and/or the nostalgia of pop culture icons it is absolutely necessary you research Ub Iwerks. In essence I’ve used his quintessential eye for line work and emotion as a foundation for how the characters are designed. Secondly, read the history on Ub-Iwerks – due to the nature of Ub’s relationships to so called higher powers in the antique animation age, I’ve further mutated recognizable iconic characters linked to Ub’s attentiveness to detail and the controversies that surrounded himself and the animation studios he worked for.   B) The entire collection is also a comment about pervasive archetypal commercial socialization of a major corporation. How one man imports the concepts *icons* of another for IP rights not wholly unique. This portion of conception links again to the history of Ub and his animation affiliates of the day and what has grown to be perhaps one of the largest channels of ‘social communication/propaganda’ (Film and Animation Industries) for corporate entities striving to own bits and pieces of true American culture and even traditions of ethnic cultures worldwide. (Without naming names) If the procuring of LucasFilm LTD and an attempt to trademark a national historical holiday Dia de los Muertos rings a bell then you must know of the specific undermining corporate entity which I refer to. Not only is this major faction overstepping boundaries by ‘buying’ cultural pieces of tradition and Americana it also has interest and owns some of the largest global news media companies further allowing it’s growth and control of what is channeled to millions of little minds across the globe.   C) The follow up to the last statement is how American consumer culture capitalism worldwide is fueled by slavish factories in the Far East. The next time your at a retail chain store considering buying that big plastic toy from that big block buster kids movie you might want to think again. It’s no secret the US above all countries is the consumer capital of the world. Right now our economy (much like many other countries) is in a major slump. Yet corporations like that retail chain store or the major corporation (I still won’t name) seeks to fill the shelves with a lot of fluffy stock that eventually just ends up in a land fill. Collectors who buy into the ‘culture’ of these corporations don’t see beyond the price tag and what is in the store they are shopping at. Hopefully this is at a turn around with the widespread mental shift that is occurring due to the hard times we now live in. Why not shop only local or hand made goods from local producers? Why is having one of 50,000 of the same snow globe for example so unique? Bottom line is…it isn’t and that is the consumer culture that these companies seek to perpetuate regardless of how it’s employees are treated or the welfare of local economical structure put aside. Why not move these factories ‘home’ and create jobs for people and local economy rather than consistently blind fold the ‘buyer’s’ of the culture and continue the downward spiral? To learn more about specifics regarding this section of statement check out a sample here.     Nick Beery Interview Part I   Thus, Any popular Americana culture can be exploited. Those who toil unfairly to keep the machine running are also exploited. It is also the parody of the creator to share the creation of identity ubiquitously. History permeates the grounds for the cultivation of new ideas. Those who revel in history shall too make a mark worth fighting for.   The more attractive version of my statement is this: An exhibition with a nature of nostalgia coalesced with the spirit of animated goons, creeps, vixens, villains, and fuzzy creatures. Pirates, vampire jackalope, mutant-dwarfs, rabid beasts, villains, devils, and even 3 eyed unicorns will be presented on vintage 1980 comics. Classic superheroes from Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Eagle, and Spider-Man tile each piece. A rare collection comic selection, character development, hand cut stencils with deep layers of aerosol application. Screen printed vinyl records with Pop-Candy neon colors, smooth gradient tones, and metallic splattering endorse every hand built box.   Nick Beery Interview Part I     SL: You’ve worked with a wide range of brands and bands in your time – care to name some of the standout projects that you’ve really enjoyed?   As a bi-coastal artist I get to work with a lot of extremely talented and creative people and agencies. One of the more fun projects was working on a line of one-handed water bottles for the infamous Stanley Brand. What I loved about the project was when they hired me the creative director said “we really need an edgy series for our upcoming Nineteen13 line that will echo with our active younger crowd, that is why we came to you”. When I hear the word edgy or dark in a design brief my creative senses tingle with delight (and diabolical laughter ensues). For the line we created several designs that were specific to the Pacific Northwest of America. It also needed to speak to the outdoorsman who are a major demographic of Stanley. So we created a monster fish with rows of fangs and tough attitude for the fishermen. We also took the logo of the Nineteen13 line and reworked it into a bad ass adversary. This resulted in an epic battle of a winged king bear (the logo character) with a Sasquatch. Super fun work for a genuinely amazing company. You can see more photos and even a video of me inking the characters here.   That’s it for now folks – but don’t despair! The next installment of our great interview with Nick will be published next week – stay tuned & keep this frequency clear! (all images ©Nick Beery) p.s: like to find out more about Ub Iwerks? This way.

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