Nikko Washington, Painter & Artist
Interview, 17 July 2023
In conversation with Nikko Washington. Born and raised in Hyde Park, the Chicago based painter and artist has created art ever since he can remember. Recognised for his portraits and abstracts, Nikko’s work has a distinct voice and individuality. Describing his own tonality as a perfect balance of erudite and fresh. Having a strong aptitude for music has allowed him to become a highly sought-after album cover artist. Nikko sat down with us to talk about craftsmanship, individuality and his relationship with music.
“Painting is one of the oldest art forms; I’m not reinventing the wheel when I’m in the studio. The most important thing is to put your personality/voice into the work.”
If you were to define craftsmanship, what would the criteria be, and how would you recognize it?
– Craftsmanship is an obsession with making whatever you do to the best of your abilities. You can recognize it in the details of someone’s work and their passion.
How important is individuality within your field, and what does that even mean as a painter?
– Individuality is essential in my field. Painting is one of the oldest art forms; I’m not reinventing the wheel when I’m in the studio. The most important thing is to put your personality/voice into the work. That’s what will set it apart from the rest. We consume thousands of images daily; it’s easy to become influenced by other things, but knowing who you are and what makes you want to create anything is how you stay on course.
“Music is a huge part of my creative process. It helps me relax and be more automatic when painting in the studio.”
What is it like being an artist in Chicago? Vague or specific to the city.
– It’s all I know; I guess I’ve never thought about it. It’s just a part of me.
Tell us about your relationship with music.
– Music is a huge part of my creative process. It helps me relax and be more automatic when painting in the studio. It’s also played a role in my career as well. Designing album covers is where I first merged my love for art and design.
Tell us about your current projects, what do you have in the pipeline… what are you excited about?
– I’m working on a solo show for the fall, which I’m excited for. I also have a children’s book I’m writing, illustrating that I can’t wait to be released.