Nicholas Danger is a graphic designer, illustrator and muralist based in Southern California. He finds great joy in sharing his whimsical, warmly psychedelic characters and vibrating color stories with wide audiences through street, interior and festival creations. His biggest source of inspiration is the uniquely cheeky west coast pop culture aesthetic and its gently twisted utopian fantasies. His signature style of visionary nostalgia graces walls all over the place, but most notably just now, on the exteriors of a groovy rental business and boutique in Idyllwild, Wild Idy, that sells original artwork and merchandise made by independent local creators. Notable, because they are currently embroiled in a confounding controversy in which a tiny but vocal handful of locals have taken up against the widely beloved works. An online petition to protect the murals has been gaining momentum as supporters of the art (and legions of folks who’ve taken selfies in front of them) mobilize to celebrate and save them.
IRVINE WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
NICHOLAS DANGER: I got a sketchbook for my seventh birthday and I filled it with drawings of aliens and monsters and Ninja turtles. I was always doodling in class, and in high school I had an incredible art teacher that opened my eyes to having art as a career.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
Cute with an edge of creepy.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Would love to be a photographer or a chef. I guess those are both creative occupations, so if not doing art, doing something that is creative. Or a scientist of some kind, doing research or exploring.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I did go to art school and studied graphic design, mostly because I felt it was the best track to get a job after school. The best thing about school is that it gave me dedicated time to explore new mediums, new techniques and access to studios. I don’t think creativity can be taught, it takes talent and hours and hours of time and practice and doing a lot of really bad work to get to the good stuff. I don’t think it matters where you go to school, if you put in the time and work and really find your voice as an artist good things will happen.
When was your first show?
I had my first show in 2005 and have done countless ones since.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
I’ve been working with a small store located in Idyllwild, California. I have done a few murals for them and now we are fighting to keep them up. I have learned a lot about working with public art and giving back to the community. The support we have gotten is amazing and it is humbling to see the support for my work. It has been great working with this small women-owned business and contributing to a vibrant community.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?
I think Keith Haring has been a big influence on my work. Bold simple ideas that came from a background of graffiti and working in the public space.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
I do! Usually funk and soul classics, but it changes depending on mood and what I am working on.
Website and social media handles, please!