Author: Alicia Muir

Q&A with Nick Chaffe

Graphic artist, designer, and illustrator Nick Chaffe transforms everyday objects with his distinctive, skate-inspired illustrative style. From tape cassettes to trainers, skulls to diamonds, Nick shows symbolic objects in a totally new light, with vivid colours and bold, solid outlines. Nick works across mediums, on murals and campaigns, and in print and sculpture. We were lucky enough to speak to Nick about his art practice, his musical and cultural inspirations, and what he enjoys about creating three-dimensional pieces.

 

Can you tell us about when you first realised you wanted to be an artist and the role that skate culture has had on your practice?

I've always been interested in art and design and been encouraged to pursue it. As a kid I was fascinated how such colourful artworks were put onto skateboards and stickers. I loved all the skate magazines, with the energising imagery, colours and patterns. Some of the photographers in those early skate magazines went on to become great film producers like Spike Jonze!

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

210,000 YEARS AGO by Nick Chaffe

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

How do you choose the everyday objects that become the subjects of your pieces?

Randomly by choosing things I like, such as ice creams and spray cans then I put them together. I also think about recurring symbolism in life, such as love, death and celebration. Sometimes they come directly from commissioned projects. I like to find combinations that work, someone once called them visual collisions which is neat. 

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

REWIND by Nick Chaffe

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

You have said that you are influenced by contemporary music and culture, are there any musicians or artists that particularly inspire you?

I think it's the variety of music I listen to that inspires me the most, contemporary and from the past it's the same with artists. Music: Autechre, The Knife, Aphex Twin, Coldcut, Daft Punk, CSN, The Band, The Rolling Stones, Digital Underground, A Tribe Called Quest, Del La Soul..  Artists: Claes Oldenburg, Robert Motherwell, Ed Ruscha, James Turrell, Jeff Koons, Kaws, Todd James, Barry McGee.

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image
Have a Nice Day by Nick Chaffe

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

What do you enjoy about creating three-dimensional artworks? Is it very different to methods and techniques used in your earlier work? 

I like the tangible aspect. The method starts the same, pencil sketching and then designing on the computer. The difference is once it gets cut by the machine I get to enjoy being outside preparing the material by hand and painting it with sprays and brushes.

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

Diamond Grenade by Nick Chaffe

Q&A with Nick Chaffe | Image

How do you see your art developing in the future? 

I will keep adding to the collection of icons finding new combinations and narratives they can create.

Fancy having your own skate-inspired artwork? Check out Nick's full collection and bring the 80's aesthetic into your home. 

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