An Interview with R. Nichols : The Spiffy Stationery Guru and Artist
I have been enchanted with the stationery by R. Nichols from the instant I spotted some of his designs in one of the several magazines I hoard and consume (I read far too many to be positive which exactly it was – very possibly Lucky). It seems that magazine addiction is just one of the similarities I have in common with the sociable and witty artist.
A love for chocolate brown coloring, cats, and Project Runway are some of our other shared interests. Read on to discover why you may spot him bicycling around on the hunt for a sugary treat at 4 p.m.
Interview with R. Nichols
TheVogueCity aka TVC: You have such a wide array of ideas presented in your designs – all cute and chic. I’m wondering how you get inspired… Do you keep a mental list of your favorite things and percolating ideas, or does new inspiration tend to more
suddenly strike and seize you on a random Tuesday afternoon?
My inspiration comes unexpectedly. Like halfway through dinner, or at the grocery store. It just pops into my head. Sometimes it pops into my head because it has too. I will usually wait until the deadline is scary before doing a project – and I will sit down at my desk with my art supplies and poof – I will mentally see the image. After that it is just a matter of execution – which for me is the easy part.
Inspiration-wise I try to stay in touch with fashion (read every magazine I come across) as well as watch every artsy, pop cultury, silly show I can on television. And if creativity is involved (Project Runway, Top Design) I can’t tear myself away. I am in awe of talent – especially when it involves things I can’t do myself.
I am always very observant of trends, etc. when traveling. Especially in NYC.
TVC: Your artwork contains black, white, and bright colors – that’s a given. Do you have favorite colors or color combinations?
I have always been obsessed with chocolate brown. And I think anything goes with that. Before designing a new collection I head to Sam Flax and shop for colored paper (my medium). It is there that I pick the pallet for the season. I always check in with my connections at Neiman Marcus (I do a lot of work with their PR Department) to see what the trends are for the next season. But more often than not it is just instinct and often unexpected.
TVC: The animals most prevalent in your work seem to be dogs (including adorable cottie dogs, which – awww). Is there no cat love in your heart? My little kitty is sitting by my feet right now so I had to ask. Do you, yourself, have any pets? (I spy a cat in a picture with you on your website.)
I have a fantasy that I live in a cozy house on the rocky shore of Maine. I wear big chunky fishermen sweaters and make hearty soups. Several times a day you will find me walking on the beach with my 2 gigantic German Shepherds. I am obsessed.
The reality is that a dog wouldn’t fit into my life right now. Somehow I ended up with 3 cats (Willy, Cleo and Peanut). It was never my intention to have more than one but when a stray shows up at your door what can you do? I am really a cat person who could possibly become a dog person.
TVC: Are there certain illustrators artists that have influenced you, or that you
Since childhood I have been scouring the New Yorker. It was always on our coffee table growing up. I have always loved all of the illustrations and cartoons. My favorite cartoonist right now is Roz Chast. I love her bare-boned illustrations and irreverent humor.
My personal style/medium literally came from 6th Grade. My teacher required us to create scads of intricate art projects using collage. It stuck with me.
TVC: Do you ever lose motivation? What sorts of activities do you do to jolt your creative impulses?
I lose motivation every day at around 4pm. It’s known around here as time to “feed the baby”. That is usually when coffee and treats enter the picture and then I am good to go.
I recently rediscovered bicycling (haven’t been on one since I was about 16 years old).
Now I am addicted. There is nothing more freeing after a long day of clipping and pasting than hopping on a bicycle and feeling the wind on your face. I think it has something to do with the fact that I can barrel past stop signs and break other laws that I have to obey when driving.
TVC: I love your Recycled Grocery Totes, not just because they’re eco-friendly (a phrase we’re all beginning to embrace more and more), but they’re also undeniably charming to look upon and be seen carrying. When you use them do you stick with one or two styles, or do you mix-and-match them all?
I am SO PROUD of my grocery totes. My whole concept was “as long as we’re doing something for the environment, why not do it with style?” I wanted people to USE THEM – even if they could care less about what’s happening to the polar bears (that commercial with Sharon Lawrence makes me cry) at least they will use my bags because they are so darn cute and stylish…
Naturally, I use the chocolate brown dog totes. My newest design. I might toss in a squirrel tote with the mix if I’m picking up a big load…
Check out his Halloween stationery, along with the other new items. Things go quickly, so grab what you love, and grab it fast! (Click on any of the pictures to be taken to the product shown.)
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