We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicklaus Gray and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicklaus, how do you think about risk?
Phew, to be frank, risk taking is how i’ve been able to make any significant progress towards my dreams, even when I wasn’t sure what those dreams were. Many of the opportunities i’ve been afforded have been because I said something like “f**k it, let’s just try it”. For example, I hit a hard mental block in early 2019 working a 9-5 selling denim to (alleged) Karens and Kens. It was the most financially stable position I had acquired in years but I was hilariously unhappy working there. I ended up quitting, moving out of my grandma’s and essentially Airbnb hopped from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire for 3 months working solely on illustration and production. One of the toughest times i’ve had in life, but the foundation and mentality I gleaned from it has stuck with me ever since and made me much better as a human… overall. Haha. Gotta risk it to get the Popeye’s biscuit.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I feel my art is leagues apart from anyone else’s because of my varied perspectives on how and why I create the way I do. My production is inspired from my rapping which is inspired from my illustration which is inspired by the manga series I was writing earlier in the day. It all feeds into itself and creates very unique results. I’m very proud of the small steps i’ve taken to pooling all of my abilities into one body of work which I hope to be an animated short film scored by myself in the near future.

Professionally, I started doing album covers back in 2015 for a couple local Inland Empire artists. It reached a head around 2018 when I was tapped to do the main artwork for the Lil Sunny Tour by Isaiah Rashad. Since then i’ve been approached in different capacities to design, produce, sing and rap for brands like Fox, Ubisoft, HBO Max, SpringHill Ent & more.

The biggest lesson i’ve taken from all these ventures is that consistency is your best asset. Your work doesn’t have to reflect a certain caliber or style, but you have GOT to show up everyday to do it and deliver on your word.

My story is just beginning and i’m glad to have so many people with me ready to turn the page. c:

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m probably the worst person to ask for this sort of a hypothetical, but I can give you a break down of an ideal day for me in (and out) of the IE. Steak breakfast burrito from Albertos, take the 210-west to the Victoria Gardens and grab some merch from the 1LoveIE booth. Pop on the 15-south exit fourth street then hit Dave n Busters to throw some digital hands. Take the 10-w till you get to Claremont Village area, we grab some wares from a Shop Called Quest then buss out back on the 10-w towards LA. Careen onto the 210-W, stop in Pasadena for some Main Chick, a fire ass hot chicken spot then head straight into DTLA to pop up at Beat Cinema… if it’s Thursday. It’ll be a good ass time.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be here without my support system, which is hilariously active despite my DoNotDisturb styled life. My two roommates Cam Archer & CJ Westley have been instrumental in keeping my head above water in the past couple years. Oh Gosh Leotus let me crash on his couch more times than I can count and has blessed me with more drumkits than I know what to do with. Tony Nunez over at Stay Other has given me timeless insight and opportunities to give back the youth in a unique way with designing uniforms for school bands. My grandma for loving me regardless of the route I was on (even though she still wants me to go back to school. Haha.) Daemon for keeping the faith that our comic book will be in consumer’s hands sooner than later. Nabeyin for helping me get my first major label writing placement, Ashley for letting me be a d0pe cat uncle, Curtiss King and Lee for believing in me to design a UI in a space i’d never been before… I’m very fortunate.

Website: www.nicklausgray.art

Instagram: @NicklausGray

Twitter: @NicklausGray

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDbv9g9McJsX-Gba2ARZKzQ/videos

Other: Twitch.tv/NicklausGray

Image Credits
Photos taken by Daniel Sanchez (@_holasanchito). Plugin screenshots used with permission from Slap Experts. The rest is all copyrighted work of Nicklaus Gray.

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