By Nicolas Palermo | Posted Thursday, April 5, 2018
In the art world, it’s important to pinpoint your own style. Many artists get caught up in wanting to create work in the same vein as their idols. Some young artists, like New Jersey painter and graphic designer Nick Delmar, aren’t afraid to do their own thing.
There’s something inherently “New Jersey” in his artwork. Much like the smile that adorns Delmar’s interpretation of Asbury Park icon “Tillie,” his artwork is friendly. It’s inviting. But it also makes you want to smash a rainbow-colored ice cream cone onto your head.
I spoke to Delmar about his influences, the Grateful Dead, and the importance of paving your own road in the art world.
Where are you based in NJ? How do you like it where you are?
Currently I live in Freehold. It’s fine. My roommates just bought me a car bed with rims, and they said they might get me a CB radio to talk to other car beds for my birthday. Just kidding, that’s a movie reference to say that I live with my parents. I rarely spend time there, so shout out to my friends and their couch/ floor hospitality.
What are your favorite mediums to work with?
I enjoy painting a lot. The quality of acrylic paint has increased so much, and you have the ability to glaze and do washes as a layering technique to achieve colors that don’t come straight out the tube. Thank you Cheryl Griesbach for this nugget of information that I was able to apply to my process.
I noticed that a lot of your work is digital. Is this an approach to creating art that you learned on your own? What is it about digital art that attracts you?
I went to school for graphic design, and I have spent thousands of hours within the Adobe programs so I am comfortable in the realm of digital creation. The digital aspect opens many doors to turning your designs into wearable things such as t-shirts, patches, stickers, and pretty much anything else you might think of, so that’s cool. I’m trying to step away from the computer a little bit.
To me, your work is hard to pin down. Some of it channels this 60s pop art sensibility, particularly in your collage works, but a lot of it has this psychedelia vibe going on. But then there’s also your graphic design work. Who and what would you say are your main influences? Is there a particular artist that you would compare yourself to?
Ah man, I have trouble pinning myself down as well haha. I am influenced by so many different artists and styles that it’s hard for me to compare myself to anybody, and that’s why I probably seem all over the place. Also, I don’t want to have work that looks and feels exactly like someone else’s. I think it’s very important to reference the past but also pave my own road. It’s really easy to find a house you like, but I want to build mine before I live in it. It’s definitely a process, but I don’t want to rush as the journey is more important than the destination. Here’s a small list of humans that inspire me — Alphonse Mucha, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Albrecht Durer, Robert Crumb, Craig Stecyk, Rick Griffin, Greg Simkins, Alan Forbes, Aaron Horkey, NC Winters. Also, big shout to all my amazing, talented, and diverse friends who inspire me every day to fulfill my potential. Also 1960's and 70’s advertising hold a special place in the dark place of my heart that enjoys the mass mind control that is advertising.
I noticed a few references to the Grateful Dead in your art. Could you talk a little about your relationship with the Dead? When did you discover them? Is their music and artwork something that inspires you?
Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to grow up with the Dead, so I had to search to find the experience. I think I really connected at the Gathering of the Vibes festival maybe 3 or 4 years ago. Since then, I’ve seen any band that covers their music when I can (favorite being Joe Russo’s Almost Dead). The complex compositions that are explored within the general direction they move is very inspiring to my life and how I approach my creative process. I can’t imagine seeing them in the 70’s while they were exploring the landscape.
Where can we follow you and view your work online?