Google Nick Automatic or its head honcho Nicolo Nimor, and find the words “Handmade World Domination” connected to them. Fitting. From his hometown in Cebu to Metro Manila, to Malaysia, and to the West, Nic’s trademark cartoon-inspired doodles on shirts have traveled to reign rock music scenes and be worn by members of bands like A Day to Remember, Forever The Sickest Kids, The Used, and Saosin. STATUS met up with Nic in the middle of a pedestrian lane somewhere in Makati (thus the photo below). Cars honk, but there’s no stopping him. Just like his career, this guy’s light is always green.
“I got to meet [the people in the music industry] and I got them to wear the shirts. It’s all about connections.”
What was the last thing you drew before you came to this interview?
I did a CD cover for a band called An Honest Mistake from Malaysia.
How did you get to know them?
I went to Malaysia for a vacation. I went to a festival and saw the band play. I went over to the guys and told them that I liked their music, then it was all just exchange of ideas.
How did you start with shirt design and what drew you to the cartoonish style?
I used to work in a Korean company as an illustrator. We made storybooks for young kids. I was studying how to draw cartoons from Looney Toons to Spunkle’s style, then eventually I learned to create something with my own.
Ren and Stimpy. More of Nickelodeon shows.
What came first? The music or the art?
The music. Ever since I was in high school, I’ve listened to music. I was a fan of bands mostly from here like Chicosci, Queso… And then accidentally, I went into working with people in the music industry. So, I got to meet them and I got them to wear the shirts. It’s all about connections.
“Think before you render. Think between what you want to do as an artist, and then think about your capabilities. Your originality comes afterward.”
You guys also have a band, right? How do you balance your time between that and your art?
Mostly, when you’re in a band, the shows are at night…
So it’s like, “artist by day, musician by night.”
If you could collaborate with any dead or disbanded musical act, what would it be?
Maybe The Beatles. Because they bring the hippie, classic vibe.
You told the Manila Bulletin, “You can’t stand out if we keep imitating someone else’s work.” What’s your advice to young artists struggling to find their style?
Think before you render. Think between what you want to do as an artist, and then think about your capabilities. Your originality comes afterward.
What’s next for you? What do you have planned?
I’m not really into my band, I’m into my job. The band comes after the art. So we might expand to more products, work with more people. Recently we placed orders with hoodies, caps, backpacks, accessories.
Interview by Rita Faire
Photographed by Patrick Diokno
For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS April 2012 issue