Nick McPherson

Artist / @nicholasdanger /nickmcpherson.com

San Diego artist Nick McPherson often receives odd requests from people to draw on their wedding photos or even pictures of their baby. What started out as just-for-fun creative exercise, Nick’s photo doodles quickly turned into a viral Instagram account, a book, and steady art sales. 

With a degree and background in illustration and design, Nick McPherson initially came to San Diego from Texas with no job and no money...that was 10 years ago. “I only knew one person out here but had done two art shows with him the year before and really liked it out here,” Nick recalls. Nick landed a job doing graphic design for an agency in East Village. “It was small agency of 4-5 designers . . . a lot of non-profit work then some bigger clients like House Of Blues and Adidas golf and corporate work.” 

Nick learned the ups and downs of working with clients at his new gig. “They don’t teach you in school how to deal with people. People might have an idea that may be bad but they want to see their bad idea anyway and it’s not until then they realize they suck...so thats a whole thing,” Nick reflects. “Learning to work with clients was a big thing for me and especially working with corporate guidelines. You know, you can’t just do whatever you want for Adidas. But it was fun stuff. I was there for a long time and it afforded me to do my own stuff on the side which is what I really wanted to do. I wanted to paint, I wanted to draw. That’s the dream.”

The dream to create started on Nick’s 7th birthday when he received a present from his Uncle. A sketchbook. “I still have every sketch book I’ve had since I was 7. I have them all stacked up, they’re full of drawings. I liked the Ninja Turtles and I drew a bunch of aliens and . . . remember that show Rescue 911? It was hosted by William Shatner and they would re enact 911 calls,” Nick beamed. “ I loved that show. I would draw police cars and fire trucks coming to a scene and there would be dead guys hanging out of a car.” Nick was always drawing. 

It’s easy to see the influences of skateboarding in Nick’s clean cartoon-like illustrations. “Skateboarding of course … seeing the new boards and everything, I used to get the old CCS magazines where you could look through and pick out your board and that was a big influence.” Other influences growing up include vintage black and white cartoons and MAD Magazine. Later on, Nick would find inspiration manipulating some old photos he found at the swap meet. His fun and often dark illustrations on vintage photographs have become a daily habit to keep creativity flowing. His advice to artists who want to keep out of a creative slump: “Just try to make something new everyday.” 

You can see Nick McPherson’s new mural now at SILO he created for Reclaim The Future, a recent art exhibit by Pangeaseed and Cohort Collective put on to help save our seas. Nick’s stylistic mural is a statement on overfishing and the unfortunate practice of shark finning for shark fin soup. 

Top two photos by ©Paul W. Koester Photography

Remaining photos and article by Carly Ealey 

Art independently curated by Chris Konecki. For more information on art in Makers Quarter™ contact: art@makersquarter.com