We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicholas Lolin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicholas, what do you attribute your success to?
Experimentation and risk taking. Throughout my whole career as an artist, and even just my life as a person, these two have singlehandedly kept me moving up and feeling alive. In fact, looking back, it was when I played it too safe and stayed in my comfort zone that I was at my worst.
It’s these two factors that I have to thank for making my work look unique, for keeping my skills and myself ever progressing, and for letting me have the opportunities and make the friendships that I have now.
I was always a curious kid that wanted to try mixing things – things that people around me would say “wouldn’t work.” I’d take it as a challenge to see if I could make my ideas work. If they did, awesome. If not, then I’d look for something I could pick up and learn from the experiment. My photos, videos, and especially my edits work the same way now. Sometimes I just jump in Photoshop or pick up my camera and go “yeah sure, I’ll try that, screw it” and just let things flow. With people I do the same if I find someone interesting, “Oh they seem cool, wonder if they wanna work together. If they say no what do I really have to lose? Nothing? Eh, hit em up.” Most of my best work has come out of situations like that.
Curiosity and freeform experimentation helped me develop my aesthetic now that I often get compliments for because of how unique some people find it. Risk taking helped me find the people that truly resonate with me and my work and build a small community amongst ourselves.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Honestly I feel like my ideas are best described as things that probably don’t belong together and shouldn’t work but do in the end (with the added spice of usually being dark and/or edgy). Basically most of my work is weird. Especially the photography and digital art side of things.
I think right now I’m most proud of my conceptual images. It’s a lot of stylistic lighting and editing with props and outfits, combined with a heavy load of Photoshop.
What most people don’t know is this: You’ll see one of my pieces and think it comes from an awfully dark place, or that I’m some sort of unhinged, closeted cultist. But if you actually ask me about it you’ll find out it’s inspired by a PS2 video game character, fused with something I saw on Cartoon Network as a kid, and a meme from 2018. Sounds like I’m trying to come off as “wEiRd and qUirKy” but… it’s just true.
It’s the kind of work that’s helped me stand out enough to land shoots with brands like Optic Gaming and Envy Gaming in the past. Those were pretty sick.
Depending on how you see it, my images can either complement or contrast with my videos, films, and music. Which are less chaotic, more introspective thought pieces that come from me wanting to express my thoughts and feelings in artistic ways. I like to talk about life, my thoughts on it, trying to give people something to take away to make their life just a little bit better, or reflect on past memories positively.
Coming up with my creative voice was natural. It wasn’t fast or slow all the way, it was a mix of both. But it certainly wasn’t difficult. I just followed the voice in my head. I knew what I liked and didn’t like, so I’d naturally just evolve what I liked and combined it with new ideas – whatever worked would stay, whatever didn’t would either get sacked or benched for a future attempt.
Burnout has definitely been the biggest struggle. My art takes a LOT of time, more than most people realise or appreciate. That’s the part that’s tough, is when you love your work and doing it and all you ask is a little more recognition, but sometimes that enthusiasm you have isn’t met. It sucks, and it also sucks to feel like you’re on fire and mistakenly put too much on your plate. I’ve definitely had to mediate my expectations of the societal reward for my work, and also moderate the amount of ideas and work I put on my plate to a manageable degree.
Regardless of the medium my core message is this: If you’re weird, that’s great. Learn to use that like a superpower because it can be beautiful. Experiment and be curious; grow up, but don’t forget about your inner child. And as best as you can, find even just a single reason every day to be grateful.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family overall, particularly my uncle and grandmother for their unending encouragement and for lifting me up in my darkest times growing up, as well as my parents for their support in practically every single little weird thing I took interest in growing up. All their combined efforts have accrued to the best and wisest parts of myself, and a set of skills and experiences that surprisingly feed into each other and still turn up useful in unexpected situations.
I’d also like to shoutout some of my closest friends. Mark, Jaimes, and Oliver for all being people that helped me develop the skills I have now.
The images are mine – Nicholas Lolin / @SentientPoison (except for the one of me dangling off a building, that’s shot by Muhammad Motiwala @Urbaniight, coloured/edited by me)