We had a little chat with Nick Sawyers...... Here is how it went down.
1. what kind of artist do you classify yourself as?
That's a good question, maybe whatever I'm doing that day? In my mind I never really classified myself as any particular genre. I spraypaint, draw using markers, pens, computers, enjoy doing hot rod art and sometimes build shit too, so there's that.
2.how did you get into the art you do? what was the influences early on in your art career?
I guess just growing up. I liked to draw, my parents were always good about putting pencils and paper in front of me and I could keep myself entertained for hours. I started out with dinosaurs, characters and monsters, then cars and vehicles. It's kinda funny because I'm literally still doing the same shit 30 some years later.
3. What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
Spraypaint for sure, working large and fast is fun. Plus it's usually more social and collaborative than sitting at home drawing pictures by yourself.
4. where has your art work taken you geographically ? / favorite job or art show?
New York, Nebraska, Mexico, Miami, Manila and Modesto?
Easily the most random job was I had to build a 17ft tall pinata to be run over by an army tank in the middle of an african big game hunting reserve. Yeah super random, pretty fucking cool though. Somewhere in the middle of texas at drivetanks.com you can pay to drive and shoot tanks. It's located on a reserve where you can hunt african game (no you can't go hunting with the tanks) and we needed a giant pinata to smash for Elton Castee's youtube channel. Basically we showed up with a rental van and a bag of tools and built this thing in a couple days. Using the van as a ladder we got it figured out, with a combination of 1x2"s rolls of plastic and a buncha paper. It had a ladder up the middle to climb on top, reminded me of a trojan horse. Meanwhile rich folks were blasting legit vietnam flame throwers, a friendly giraffe oversaw our work and a not so friendly ostrich bit me. When we were done a storm rolled in and we had to wrap this thing in a ton of tarps not to get soggy from the rain. I was pretty impressed how it all came together and how well it looked for what it was. Didn't get to hang around to see it's demise under a tank a few days later but was a pretty awesome job.
5. what is your favorite thing you ever painted and why?
First thing that comes to mind is the big Trex in the Nude bowl. Dinosaurs have been some of my subject matter since I was a kid and at first I wanted it to look like an archaeology dig and have all these fossilized skate and bmx elements poking out and stuff. Then I found a 5 gallon bucket of this wild teal green in home depot's oops paint. Plans changed and I had to use it because I knew it'd pop so good against the drab desert landscape. My homie VHUE came out and helped, couldn't have done it without him. We both got absolutely melted being 115 degrees and probably 120+ inside the pool all afternoon. It turned out better than I expected, especially in the top down photos eyeballing a 40ft dinosaur with decent proportions. Most importantly it was a fun trip and a good fucking time.
6. although art is a big hobby of yours we know that you indulge in many other hobbies, one being bmxing. Tell us why you think bike riding is so popular right now? and where do you like to bike the best?
Bikes got super popular again right around the first lockdown in april. Bike shops looked as empty as the toilet paper aisles. I think it was just one of the only activities folks were allowed to do for a while to burn off energy and tons of people are outta work. The big BMX bike wheelie boiz scene is huge now too. I think people are just stoked to be out cruising around with that fun first taste of freedom raise some hell nostalgia you got when you were a kid. I like BMX trails the most, aka dirt jumps. It's where I started in BMX and it's just plain fun to cruise through a good set of jumps, no tricks necessary. It takes years to dial in some good trails and they're constantly changing which keeps it interesting. Building jumps and trails is definitely an art, and I compare it to painting a massive wall with your homies then you get to ride it when you're done.
7. what are some of the other hobbies you enjoy? and how many times have you got your truck stuck?
I like vehicles, and working with my hands, so that turns into wrenching on things.
Honestly the truck hasn't been hopelessly stuck like we used to get them in the mud or snow growing up in Nebraska. It's mostly rocks and desert out here, so it'll get hung up on a boulder or something and you can just drag it off pretty quick. The truck has definitely got broke off at some inopportune moments though. Middle of Baja Mexico I got some impressive hang time through some whoops and endo'd the truck straight into the backside of another whoop. The front axle housing bent so bad my wheels were all camber'd out and pointing in opposite directions. When we got to our beach campsite 60 miles down the road, I had to re-do my alignment and drive the rest of the 1300 mile trip home. Another time my trunnion bearing let go in Death Valley, basically removing the front wheel/brake where it steers from the rest of the truck. Got it put back together good enough to limp home after several hours and a few prayers.
8. what is your music style while you do these hobbies? does it influence your art at all?
I'd say I listen to about everything, outlaw country, dirty south rap, punk etc. I'm not sure if it directly influences my artwork, but maybe the mood I'm in to create art if that makes sense. I could be inking in something metal as fuck while listening to lil boosie if you know what I mean.
9. tell us how you are dealing with the covid 19 situation.
I've been working freelance outta my home for about 10 years now, so not a super drastic change for me on that front. It's kinda ironic seeing everyone working at home now, and my typical rolling outta bed and going to work in my underwear is now the new normal.
10. what are some of the bucket list locations you want to travel to for painting or other activities.
I'd like to do a painting trip to Europe, I'd like to see Spain and would like to go back to Italy. Australia has been on my list too but they seem super strict on lockdowns/quarantines now. Last summer I rode my Harley through nine states, and that was one of those "I don't wanna come home" kinda trips. I'd like to do more of that, but more time to stop and enjoy things. In the truck the Fordyce trail has been on the list and maybe just more norcal trips to the mountains in general. Arizona wheeling trip is long overdue too.
11. explain the Franken Sketch Friday "you call it I draw it" ig posts to those that don't know
I started doing it years ago when I used to work as a concept artist, so it sorta started as a game to keep my skills sharp. Basically I ask my IG followers what they want to see on one post, and pick the best few comments and draw them together in a sketch. It usually gets vulgar and weird pretty quick. Like the pandemic one I did was a "Masked king of toilet paper, ripping out of his toilet paper castle. Driving a purell injected corona bottle, butt stuff powered poop hot rod, doing toilet paper burnouts through all the asshole TP hoarding costco customers, meanwhile flipping off everyone via live feed from a safe social distance." Then I post the sketch a couple hours later, and the "10th commenter" wins it. It used to be the first comment wins, but I've had to switch it up a bit over the years since you can get post notifications and would be gone in seconds. Now 10th commenter, NOT to be confused with the 10th comment requires a bit of skill and attention to win.
12. what is your definition of success in life and do you feel you have or will achieve this?
I've always steered toward wanting quality of life over capital gains. I think I'm doing pretty good in that regard but there's always room for improvement.
13. if you had a baby tomorrow what would be the important things you would want to teach that little critter?
That's a scary question haha. I guess how to be self sufficient and teach the tools he/she needs in life. To be a producer of whatever he/she wants to be, not just a consumer.
14. any advice to a new artist hitting the graffiti or mural scene that you would give?
Just make your current piece better than the last one, and repeat!
15. If they made a movie about your life what would they call it?
"Hold my beer."
16. shots out to your peoples!
Shoutout to my family for believing in whatever it is I do, Sket one & Tits crew for being some solid humans and artists, Yotamasters for keeping my shitbox 4runner rolling down the road, and you for this interview.