Nick Ogonoski attended Savannah College of Art and Design where he studied illustration. Since then, he has been sharpening his skills and evolving his style. Nick's work is simple but conceptual, and is complimented perfectly by his handmade marks and textures which he makes in his home studio.
Pepsi, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, The Boston Globe, Indeed, Harvard Magazine, LA Times, Rhode Island Monthly, Spectrum NewsRead more
Being signed to an agency and working for Pepsi.Read more
Illustrating the future
We work with the world's most brilliant and visionary creatives to bring the boldest concepts to life.
How do you define your identity? Do you identify with (or advocate for) any marginalized communities?
I define my identity mainly as the man I am to my loved ones. I’m a father/husband first and foremost. I try my best to let those roles (which are steeped in love) indicate my decisions and actions. I’ve been really focusing on letting go and living a life of/through love.
Where is home?
Currently, home is Scranton, Pennsylvania where I was born and raised.
Describe your illustration style in one sentence
My style is gritty, abstracted whimsy.
What lights your soul on fire?
Lately what lights my soul on fire is working on my mental and physical health. Lifting, meditation and yoga put my mind and body at ease.
What themes do you enjoy exploring in your illustrations?
I really enjoy exploring darker or more melancholy themes. I feel that illustrating these themes acts as an outlet for those emotions inside me.
What techniques do you use?
I utilize traditional mark making with really any medium I can get my hands on. I marry this with digital illustration by scanning marks and textures into photoshop, then collaging it all together digitally.
How much of yourself and your own story can we see in your work?
A lot of my mental health issues and emotions subconsciously spill out into my illustrations. It could be the theme behind the illustration or the frantic scribbles and textures I use.
Is there an unmistakable thread in your creative work?
I’d like to think that my use of textures links my illustrations in a way that is unmistakably my own.
What do you want to be known for?
Being an amazing father.
Which projects excite you most?<
The projects that excite me the most are the ones where I get full creative freedom and I’m cut loose to come up with whatever my heart desires in the moment.
What is your dream gig?
I would love to do an illustration for the New Yorker.
Where, when and how do you best create?
I find my flow state late at night when my family is asleep. Inspiration can strike anywhere, honestly. I also find that listening to ambient music without any lyrics helps grease the creative wheels.
How has your style evolved since you started?
I used to look at other illustrators’ work. Especially ones I admired. Now I try to avoided it as much as it pains me, but I find it helps me steer clear of creating something that’s derivative and instead create from my own heart, mind and soul.
What do you find most challenging in your practice or in the illustration industry?
Keeping your work relevant in such a saturated market is extremely challenging. Especially when said market is filled with such amazing talent. However, I try not to think of that too much and not let it influence my work as I want to stay true to myself and my illustrative voice.
How as being an illustrator changed your life?
I can now say that I draw pictures for a living! Also, making images from text has greatly helped with the way I see things and interpret the world.
Name a tool you can’t live without!
My beard comb.
Tell us about a project you worked on that was meaningful to you as an artist.
I had to illustrate 3 pieces for Texas Monthly about infant deaths due to being left in cars during the Texas summer heat. It was such tragic and difficult subject matter to work with and I had to be sure to handle it with care, but what made it worse was the child that the article focused on was the same age as my daughter at the time. This project has stuck with me since.
What influences or inspires your art?
I like taking simple and mundane things that might get overlooked in everyday life and trying to find a way to make them visually satisfying and meaningful.
What would you tell your younger self?
Don’t stress so much. Learn to let go of the things you can’t control.
Why do you think art speaks louder than words?
Words can only be read one way, but how art is interpreted depends solely on the viewer. Art is subjective, words aren’t.