We had the pleasure of speaking with local artist Nick Robinson, the winner of this year’s ConnArtist Competition about his journey as an artist and learn about where he finds his inspiration. His painting Dream Controller was selected out of over 60 submissions with over 400 votes. All works of art submitted are voted on by the public for two weeks then the top 5 are brought to our team at Two Roads for internal voting! Voting is based off of creativity, appearance, design elements, workmanship, and subject matter.
Robinson’s artwork will be featured on our new limited batch 2022 ConnArtist Hazy IPA. This beer will be available in the Two Roads Tasting Room on tap and available for Beer-2-Go. Additionally, in tandem with the release of this beer we will have an unveiling of the artwork mounted on our 200 barrel fermenter tank visible from the tasting room on Sunday, October 9th. The Top 5 artists will also be on campus showcasing additional works of art. Join us to celebrate these incredible local artists. More information can be found on our event page, ConnArtist Showcase.
- Tell us about your piece!
So recently I’ve been getting into psychedelic paint pours combined with Photoshopped compositions. I’m always creating atmospheric and surreal art, and this piece is a really good example of that juxtaposition of analog and digital art that I’ve been striving towards for years. “Dream Controller” is metaphorical in a lot of ways, in the sense that we are in control of the roads we take in our lives. I guess in this case it’s rowing a boat in a river of paint towards an archway of clouds.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It would probably be to “let go”. It’s not a piece of advice given by anyone in particular, but just something you hear all the time in passing. It’s important to move on and let go, because that opens up more opportunities for us, no matter what the situation. In art, it’s important to just keep doing the work, and to let your creative instincts guide and define you. The act of selling your art is another way of letting go. I’ve sold a few originals here and there, and sometimes it feels like losing something. But in actuality, selling work opens up more space for new art to be made.
- Who or what are your biggest artistic influences?
It’s tough to say because of how vast of a platform social media has become for artists all over the world. I’m constantly scrolling through my feeds just shaking my head at how incredible everyone’s work is. It’s both frustrating and inspiring. Leif Podhajsky is a huge inspiration to me in terms of combining psychedelic work with graphic design. Kim Jung Gi is another massive inspiration to me. He was a god-tier ink illustrator who just tragically passed away recently, and I implore anyone to watch videos of him creating visual magic out of nothing.
- Where do you find your inspiration?
Movies, music, life. Other people’s art. Video games. I’m always listening to music when I’m making art and I really enjoy living in that space where your mind gets set on autopilot to the songs you’re listening to, letting the artwork kind of happen on its own.
- Does art help you in other areas of your life?
I think it does in the sense that I truly believe art is what we’re here for. Whether it’s music, visual art, poetry, film, etc. Beer? We work our jobs to pay our bills so we can enjoy our lives. It’s tragic that most aspects of art are non-lucrative because at the end of the day, what else is there?
- How has your practice changed over time?
It’s changed in a lot of ways, mostly in just what I’m creating. I’ve recently gone back to plain old black and white ink drawings because I think that sometimes color can throw off the focus on raw texture and mood. I think eventually I want to produce smaller work or smaller prints. But I’ve always struggled with finding subject matter to be the vehicle for my art. I love creating textures and atmospheres in my work, but it hasn’t been until relatively recently that I’ve been pressuring myself to focus more on the subject matter, rather than surreal abstraction. But what I think is universal with the art that I strive to make are themes of fleeting time, psychedelia, and impermanence.
- Do you remember the first piece of art you ever made? What about the one you’re most proud of?
Well I used to make “video game” levels on large pieces of paper when I was a kid. With those four-colored ballpoint pens. Sometime in high school I pirated a copy of Adobe Photoshop and started making edgy grunge compositions. It wasn’t until college that I started painting. One of my favorites that I still have to this day is a 4ft by 3ft painting of a walrus. I think that was the first painting I made where I stood back and felt a real sense of fulfillment. Which confused a lot of people. Maybe that’s the piece I’m most proud of, based solely on the fact that I painted a walrus for my Spring Semester Painting Final.
For more information on Nick Robinson, check out his website!