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Featured Artist Nika Simone

Nika Simone

By Damien Monaco

Certain forms of art have more opportunities of being recognized over others. For instance, if you are a musician, the probability that you will be playing shows and gaining fans is pretty high. However, if you are an artist, it can be difficult for you to expand your fan base. This is why Perpetual Toxins will be featuring artists periodically, to try to spread the word on some of the wonderful art that is out there, but unfortunately can go unrecognized.

Nika Simone is our first featured artist because her artwork jumped out at us. It was extremely versatile and varied in many forms and mediums. We spoke with Nika to find out what has helped to influence her art and what she is up to right now.

Perpetual Toxins: What has helped to influence you in the creation of your art?

Nika Simone: Everything. I've literally found influence and inspiration just about every day, in all ways. The way that people move, different bits of architecture, the colors of rain-soaked lawns, all inspire me to some degree. As for specifics, Manga serves to be a great guide for learning gesture and movement, especially some of the more detailed illustrations. I'm also really fond of art nouveau style illustration right now, and plan to play with working some of that into my drawings when I have time.

Kaela Indiglow - Digital Drawing

PT: We've noticed different mediums in your art. Care to be more specific on the methods and supplies you use?

NS: Digital has always been a big favorite for me. I love the bold color and ultra smooth application you can get working in digital media. Since the onset of school, however, I've found that I don't have the time like I once did to sit down at a computer and bang out an 8-hour drawing anymore, which has caused me to spend more time working by hand- admittedly a nice change. Right now I'm primarily using Prismacolor markers on clayboard, because it allows for an almost paint-like ability to move color around to create smooth blending, but I have plans for the summer to basically try every medium I can, it's been a long time since I've gotten a chance to experiment.

PT: So what have you been up to recently?

NS: I'm currently attending Corning Community College for Fine Arts, which is terribly cliché. I have been debating aiming in the direction of Art History/Anthropology as a career, though. Right now I'm basically building myself an academic springboard so I can move on to a better school, but who knows where I'll end up when all's said and done.

Rabid Albatross - Digital Drawing

PT: Do you think the cost of living on Long Island will cause artists to leave and negatively affect the art scene?

NS: Definitely, without a doubt. Artists are always referred to as "starving" for a reason, it's bloody expensive. Supplies have never been cheap to begin with, but like everything else, the cost of them is rising. It takes a lot to maintain a creative hobby, and the cost of living on Long Island has long exceeded the point of being ludicrous. The more money you have to spend on essentials, the less you have to invest in your creativity. It's to the point now where most of the people I knew there have left, are leaving, or are realizing they'll have to leave soon, so of course this will have a detrimental effect on the art coming from the area. Not only will there be less of it in general, but you'll probably find the variety also decreases, as you'll be left with mostly budding teen artists who can still rely on their parents for supplies, while lacking many financial responsibilities, or older, established artists who've secured their careers. I think that a large majority of my generation, the twenty-something artists, will be leaving the area due to the insane cost of living, and those that do not will need to put their passions aside in order to simply survive.

Nika is available for commissions. If interested, please email her.

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