We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicholas Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicholas, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
That’s a great question. Personally, I value integrity most highly. Why? Well, to be frank, it makes life so much easier. Taking a stance, following a code, or just being honest consistently has made this situation “life” easier to navigate. I know that probably sounds rather nebulous, so let me try to relay it as my father once did for me. If you are direct, honest, and remain true to your principles the bad people, situations, or options won’t fit in your life. If by some chance they do, there will be a constant tension, and that will act as a signal to re-evaluate. The opposite is also true. Maintaining one’s integrity is paramount to one’s life, because, in my opinion, it’s the only compass in an otherwise stormy sea of temptation, easy outs, pirates, and settling for less than we each deserve.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a freelance artist, working with book publishers, game developers, and personal clients specifically in the genre of fantasy art. I also run my own patreon page, under nphillipsart, like all my social media. I would like to weave a tale of my own great success, but I’ll shoot straight instead. I am still growing, and it is very challenging. So, to answer your question, no it has not been easy. Given that, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Giving up hasn’t been an option, though I’d lie if I said I never considered it. I just can’t. I found something I love exploring, waking up everyday to face, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that even up to my last day on earth, there will be aspects of art I didn’t tap. The potential is so vast, how could one ever grow bored? What lessons have I learned? Too many to recount for you here, but let me say that there is one that trumps all other lessons. For me, hard work is the key. If you are willing to never let up, fight when it gets hard, confusing, and overwhelming you will eventually succeed. I have found no guarantee in art, save this. It may not be fast, or when you’d like it to be, but if you are willing to work hard you will make it. As for me, what I’d like you all to know is that I relish the challenge of art. The struggle between something physical and yet so ethereal. Between chaos and order. Beauty and Horror. As I delve further into this passion, and career I can’t tell you where I’ll end up, but I will never stop exploring these aspects of life through my art!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh man, there’s just so much to see in San Diego. I’ve lived in North Park, and now in Encinitas so my plan would take us all over! Let’s see, well, I’d prioritize like this. For sites, you’ve got two types of next level attractions. For nature lovers, there’s San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and two really cool botanical gardens. That’s not even touching on the beautiful beaches, and hiking spots mind you. Then there’s really awesome culture digs, like Che Cafe, or The Soda Bar for a small intimate concert venue. Additionally, there’s a handful of amazing museums of art, natural history and science. Ideally, Museums, and balboa park would be a day unto itself. The Zoo, and a cool beach spot like Mission Beach or Pacific Beach. Of course, we’d get hungry, and I love Asian grub, so we’d have to head up to convoy street, probably multiple times! Ramen, yakitori, Chinese steam buns, Korean BBQ, man, everything is there! No trip would be complete though without one of my favorite SD experiences. Sunset at Moonlight Beach. Man, if you get the timing right, you have a gorgeous sunset in front of you, and the moon rising behind you in full view. Ain’t nothing else like it!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Of course, though I have to say, I have been so fortunate that I have abundance of people I could celebrate for all their kindness to me. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today if I hadn’t met Erik Gist, and of course, the rest of the staff at Watts Atelier. That might seem like a cop out, but man, every single one of the small staff at Watts has been so good to me. It’s unprecedented in my experience with schools of any kind. Given that, Erik’s always been available for all my anxious worries, technical concerns, and patiently willing to re-teach or re-explain the same subject whenever I’ve been too dense to get it right…on the 3rd try! From school stuff, to life lessons, to career advice, and networking Erik’s been there like very few in my life have. A mentor, and a friend, I could never say thanks enough, so cheers to you man! Additionally, I have the loving support of my partner Lena Krupicka, without whom, my garden of joy, laughter, and curiosity would have surely withered by now. Of course, shoutout to Jim Fitzgerald, the 3rd mind you, one of my greatest friends because if not for his constant support, I might never have been able to make it this far. Lastly, I’d like to shoutout to my father, Mark Phillips, because there are fathers in the world, and then there’s him. The man who embodies integrity, sets aflame the torch of hope, and whose constant efforts teach that change, and success, are always possible for all that are willing to fight.
Other: www.patreon.com/nphillipsart for anyone that would like to support me on my journey and get insider access to my process, thoughts, and artwork!
Nicholas M. Phillips