In the spirit of giving back, and our desire to support local businesses and artists, we are doing an artist spotlight series. We will be showcasing a new artist each day for the next 31 days. Today’s artist is Nicholas Farren, a Photoshop Artist.
Nicholas is a graphic designer that specializes in Photoshop art. He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island where he spent most of his time dedicated to video games or art – so it makes sense he would combine the two as my lifes passion. Nicholas is currently attending Becker College where he is majoring in Game Design and intends to minor in English.
I consider myself a well-balanced creative person, having dabbled in various forms of visual art, music composition, and thoroughly enjoy writing in my free time. At this time I am working with a group of very gifted individuals to create a puzzle-rpg as lead artist and writer.
Question: How did you get into design?
Nicholas’s Answer: I suppose ever since I was a kid I liked to just imagine. I played a lot of video games, so I’d sit down, play them and say ”Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if THIS happened instead?” You know, typical kid behavior. I think the difference lies in the means I would express this creative expression though. Where as most kids would play cops or robbers, and got their fill from taking on the roles of characters, I would sit down and draw, or I would try to act out scenes with my action figures. There was always that creative element. But I think what really got me deep into design was when I was browsing the web one day. I came across a site dedicated to making mock video game packaging; the thing you would see on the cover of a video game at Walmart or something. And for some reason, this just excited me. I would look around this website for a little while everyday and just see all the creative ways people were able to use the resources available to them to make something visually appealing. Eventually I caved in and tried my hand at it using Microsoft Paint. It ended about as well as you would expect from any artist using Microsoft Paint. But I persisted. I got better programs. I practiced. And before long I was forming my own art-style. I eventually moved on from this site to other forms of media. T-Shirts and Posters primarily. And now I just sort of dabble and everything. It was just this one moment where something about looking at art clicked and I said ”That. That’s what I want to make.” And it just all flowed along from there.
Question: Where are you from, where did you go to school?
Nicholas’s Answer: I was born in Providence, Rhode Island, which was actually a lot busier than you would expect from the smallest state in the United States, where I lived for most of my life. I now attend Becker College in Massachusetts where I’m majoring in Game Design and plan to minor in English.
Question: What are your tools of the trade?
Nicholas’s Answer: This largely depends on what exactly it is I’m doing. For most fan art, I’ll use Photoshop and Photoshop solely, though when delving into more original work, I always like to get some pencils and papers, do a rough sketch, then scan it to my computer where I’ll touch it up in Photoshop. Photoshop’s pen tool has proven to be a rather valuable resource in all my art endeavors.
Question: What websites do you go to for design inspiration?
Nicholas’s Answer: The aforementioned box art site is still somewhat active today, and is home to some fantastic artists. Sometimes something I see will just jump out at me and I’ll say ”I like this element here; I wonder if I could apply it to something else and still make a good looking product.” Otherwise, I don’t tend to look at the internet for inspiration. Sometimes I might see something in Google Images that sparks something, but otherwise my inspiration just comes. You walk down the street and see an advertisement and you say ’Hey that’s cool, that gives me an idea.’ You listen to music and say ’Wow, this song is really painting a picture in my head. I can work with this.’ You don’t force inspiration, inspiration comes to you naturally.
Question: What is your favorite movie, band, and artist?
Nicholas’s Answer: My favorite movie is probably the Green Mile, and my favorite artist is an underground artist who goes by Boneface. As for bands, I could get into that topic for a long time. Some of my greatest inspirations come from music, so I listen to a lot of different bands, though in recent years I’ve found myself to be a big fan of Stoner Rock. Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures are by far my favorite band of all time, though I also thoroughly enjoy The Dead Weather, Soundgarden, The White Stripes, The Desert Sessions, They Might Be Giants, and Electric Light Orchestra, among a long list of other great musicians.
Question: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Nicholas’s Answer: I’ve traveled to a lot of places in my life, and I can’t particularly say it’s for me. I get homesick very easy it seems. But if we were to assume that this one trip wasn’t going to end with me heaving, I would say Japan or Italy. They both have such rich cultures that I think it would certainly make for an interesting if not educational time.
Question: When you’re not designing, what do you like to do?
Nicholas’s Answer: I’m an avid gamer and writer, and like to spend time playing video games, which in turn leads to me taking new ideas I’ve formulated as a result and putting them into writing.
Question: If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Nicholas’s Answer: As cliche as it sounds to want to meet a guy in a band you like, I’d have to say I’d like to meet Joshua Hommes. I hear he’s a fairly cool guy in real life, despite how hot tempered he gets on stage, and his music has definitely had a huge impact on my life, so why not? Of course, this meeting would probably end with me squealing like a little girl and Josh walking off because really, wouldn’t you do the same if someone just made a sound that sounded like a dying rat? But still. I suppose I’d like the opportunity to do it, though I wouldn’t so much ACTUALLY want to do it. I get too shy around people for that.
Question: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?
Nicholas’s Answer: Don’t worry about your art looking as good as your idol’s. It will never look exactly the same. Instead take your own unique art style and mold it into something you can be proud of without comparing it to other’s art. Because every piece of art has its own beauty to it. Other than that I would say just keep trying. The more you work at something the better you get. There was a time in my life where I threw people whose legs were twice the size of their entire upper torso, though I never noticed it at the time. There was a time where I threw women that looked exactly like guys, and guys that looked just like women. There were times what I thought was a perfect circle was in fact fairly clearly an oval. But the more I worked, the more these elements started to disappear. Just like breaking a bad habit. And more importantly, step away from your art from time to time. When you create art, you always have this perfect vision in your mind of what you think your art should look like, and that can make it more difficult for you to tell when there is something fundamentally wrong about your art as your ideal art and your actual art start to seep together. Let a third-party come in and point out flaws you might not have seen. Two heads are better than one after all, and four eyes are certainly better than two.
No two artists are the same. For a long time I tried solely to imitate other artist’s art styles, and while I came close a couple times, I never quite got it. The thing about art is we all have our own unique styles. They never leave you, they bleed into everything you do in some way shape or form.