When did you first realize that you had such a wonderful artistic gift?
I would say I realized fully that I had an artistic gift around elementary into middle school when all my classmates asked me to draw pictures and make ink pen tattoos for them (lol)!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
There are so many layers to that answer for starters my wife and 2 sons inspire me to make art my business to provide for them. Secondly, my love for black people and all the branches of creativity that grows out of us whether that be music, visual arts, liberal arts etc. and lastly my love of our history.
What is your favorite piece that you’ve created to date & why?
It’s hard to say; I have art that I’ve done on the computer and art that I’ve painted and then there’s favorite people that I’ve done pieces of which makes me love them even more. I guess it’s between the Muhammad Ali piece and the Bob Marley Jah Maica piece.
One of my favorite art pieces is ‘Muhammad Ali’ because even though it was done on the computer it’s just as tasking as painting. I love it because of the pose he’s making, it says, “I’m the best dont F with me.” Also, the layering of textiles used in the piece to tell the story of him as a person. Plus, I love his political stance for black people.
My other favorite, which is a painting, is the Bob Marley Jah Maica piece because of the message behind the painting. I made Bob Marley as Christ for several reasons, his music is almost gospel and if you ever watch a Marley concert it is very transcendental. Also, it was a part of a series of work where I returned the faces of religion back to black. I can go on and on about this because it’s so much to explain but I’ll leave it there.
Is there a particular message that you’re trying to communicate through your work?
The message overall is making the world recognize how divine black is again. We are the origin and the catalyst to the world’s civilizations from science to art. In a more quantum level, I use color, textile, and symbolism like a quilt to tell a story about an icon’s life. For instance the piece I made of J. Cole, I used many of the North Carolina Universities’ colorways in his face because of his love of basketball (Carolina Blue, Duke Blue, NC State Red and Fayetteville Community Yellow which is the most meaningful because of how much he loves his community of Fayetteville). Also the symbolisms of the devil horns and halo which is his logo. Plus, the cheetah like sweater pattern which is reminiscent of gun shots as well; I’ll leave that to interpretation.
I see you have created a number of pieces of musical and historical black figures, if you could meet one of the people you have done a digital representation of who would it be & why?
If I could meet anyone it would definitely be Marcus Mosiah Garvey because I want to know his strategy to mobilize the people with today’s technology like he did in the 1920’s. Also, we’re born on the same day; I love to say we think alike. I would love to see the African diaspora united like it was in his days.
Where do you see yourself & your art in 2017?
I see myself and my art in 2017 actually doing an art show. All my years of doing art I never had the chance to do one. Also, producing some art based clothes, a lot of people are inquiring about it.
What role do you believe artists of color should have in society?
The role artists of color should have in society is probably the highest, we are the most mimicked people on the planet and the most creative. Art is a visual representation of the spirit. If you want to learn the spirit study art, if you want to learn the spirit of the planet study us. We are art.
What were your top 3 favorite cartoons growing up?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers then Aladdin.
Below you will find a slideshow of the amazingly meaningful and inspiring work of Prince Eric Nichols. Show him love on Instagram @princeericnichols and drop your comments below!