Nic Mac is a freelance illustrator who often uses bold bright colours to create imaginative illustrations that often depict important issues and various themes such as mental health, technology and the environment. Predominantly known to be a digital artist Nic has also recently developed and explored other creative avenues such as Murals, Street art, Videos and comics.
Anna-Marie caught up with Nic to discover she also does some poetry too…we hope to see her involving this more into her artwork now as she shares more of the upcoming things she has in store.
Describe yourself in one word?
Hmmmm…well I think I would have to say “Human” aha maybe that’s cheating a little bit, but I really think that’s probably the best word to use, because it’s everything right? It’s the good AND the bad, and everything inbetween.
How did you begin your journey into illustration and your method of art?
It’s something I have always studied, but I really think there was a pivotal moment that invigorated me and pointed me in the right direction. Not long after graduating I struggled a lot and actually had a period of time where I wasnot drawing and not being ‘creative’, but then I read an article on Ben Brown in Very Nearly Almost magazine and it just made me draw again from that point. Seeing his work really inspired me and that was the beginning of what I’m doing now. I just remember looking at his work so intensely and there was just something about his line work that got me and I was like “I need to do that”.I didn’t stop drawing that week, it came pouring out of me from that point.
You dropped ‘Piece by Piece to Paradise’ a few months back, what inspired the name?
It represents the art of slowly building something. Highlighting that we are always in a state of creation. It highlights a feeling I often have.
If I am working on something but feel like I’m not getting to where I want to be. Where I want to be is the “bigger will improve and eventually you will get to that contented place whatever that looks like to you.picture” (paradise) yet it distracts and can be unmotivating and so the idea is, a reminder, that we can only do things ‘piece by piece’, one thing at a time. It’s always easy to catch yourself thinking too much about the future but you are not there yet. So you can only take it day by day. It’s a mantra. It’s just trusting that with each day and with each thing that you make, you will improve and get to that contented place whatever that looks like to each person.
Do you aim to always incorporate deeper messages surrounding mental health and mindset into your work?
It’s always the aim, because it’s a subject that’s close to my heart. Art has the ability to communicate these difficult subjects so well and make people think, and in some ways, it almost feels like a responsibility as an artist to use it in that way and to do that.But also know that it’s not possible with every piece of work, and sometimes you do just have to cut loose and be free to experiment and make something weird and have fun.
After having a stalk of your YouTube channel, you’re definitely a talented content creator too! How did you end up documenting your art and journey this way?
I really like video editing and I did some work experience. Back when I was 18, I found it to be something (that’s gonna sound really big headed now) that I was natural at. I just really enjoyed it. So over the last two years I have created process videos showing my art and my favourite thing to do is to show my mistakes. It may make the video longer sometimes but I try to include all these extra bits of when things go wrong or show the things that I learned. Because whenever someone else did this, it really helped me. As an artist, I think we should take that responsibility to help others and the younger generation of creatives.
If you could spend the day and enjoy dinner with any person in your industry to pick their brains, who would it be?
I’d like to meet Ben Brown and tell him how he inspired me massively and pick his brain on how he started maybe and what inspires him, but he’s in Australia, so he’s pretty far away!
What’s your go to song right now this year?
Ahh hmmm, I listen to lots of old things! I’d say T-Rex ‘s ‘Get It On’ is my current motivational jam.
What’s a moment you’re most proud of?
I did a comic about mental health that has a poem running through it and I showed it and read it out within a presentation to a group of young adults, struggling with mental health, I also gave them all a copy. When I finished speaking and I was saying goodbye a few of them came up to me and said the story really helped them and gave them hope.
So that was the proud moment of seeing what art could do and what it is capable of doing. I get messages every now and then from people saying that my work has helped them. That’s what keeps me doing it. It’s the power of an image and what it’s capable of doing.
Outside illustration, is there anything else you enjoy doing? Do those things inspire you in any way?
Poetry is something I’ve done on the side as a hobby since 2015 or so. Involving it in the comic was the first time I used it with my art, and I want to do it more. I’ve incorporated it into some murals and sometimes now I write it underneath a new piece of work that I’ve done. I feel poetry is the art of words, because its not just a written description, it depicts a feeling, the same way artistic imagery does it just uses words as the paint.
A random one – what trends have recently caught your attention in the world of illustration and online?
I think people are interested in the behind the scenes and so the trend of showing that process with video. Either on youtube or with Instagram reels is big right now.
We loved your collaboration with Jamie Makeup – what’s been your most favourite collaboration to date?
The collaboration with Jamie Makeup was really fun and to have that much freedom was great. But my favourite collaboration was the Fulham Town Hall mural with David Oku, which was focused on mental health. We filled this room with paint and it was just so great to be in a room with someone who had the same way of thinking that I did. It was just so easy to collaborate.
Anything you’re potentially looking forward to?
The thing I’m really focusing on is travelling and moving around, as I’m trying to find this space that I want to live in. I’m still not quite sure I found it. Being in different cultures is going to be really influential to the work I make. I’m really excited about being in a new environment and seeing what gets created out of that. So that’s the thing I’m really excited about this year as I’ll be in different places.
Where do you see the future of illustration but in particular – what do you want to see more of?
I want to see more collaboration massively. I was speaking to someone the other day about looking at the old movements like surrealism and cubism and more – like that was a movement. Movements are essentially groups of artists all working together to develop that movement, all working within the same style.
That really doesn’t happen now because we are so focused on our brand and what our individual style is. We’re so focused on that and I think it [collaboration with similar styles] would be so nice. For example, if you draw in a certain style, let’s not say that that’s “that person’s style”. Let’s say “that’s a movement” instead and maybe develop it and work together to do that. That’s what I‘d like to see hopefully.
We enjoyed our catch up with Nic, you can delve more into her creative journey here as she pursues further art projects:
FOLLOW NIC MAC:
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/nicmac
Site – www.nicmacillustration.com