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Chris Nickels Explores His Surroundings in Soft-Colored Digital Illustrations

South Carolina based artist Chris Nickels creates digital illustrations inspired by scenes from his surroundings and childhood spent in Athens, Georgia. Among his favorite memories are hiking and fishing in the river with his friends, which explains his affinity for nature. He is also a fan of old cameras and polaroid photography which he sometimes posts to his instagram account. His palette is reminiscent of his polaroid's faded colors like light greens, earthy blues, yellows, and corals. Each work begins at the drawing stage using traditional materials like pen, ink, acrylic, and pencil before it is finished off digitally. Nickels calls Photoshop the "glue" that brings the piece together.

South Carolina based artist Chris Nickels creates digital illustrations inspired by scenes from his surroundings and childhood spent in Athens, Georgia. Among his favorite memories are hiking and fishing in the river with his friends, which explains his affinity for nature. He is also a fan of old cameras and polaroid photography which he sometimes posts to his instagram account. His palette is reminiscent of his polaroid’s faded colors like light greens, earthy blues, yellows, and corals. Each work begins at the drawing stage using traditional materials like pen, ink, acrylic, and pencil before it is finished off digitally. Nickels calls Photoshop the “glue” that brings the piece together. One of his latest personal projects is a series of illustrations of urban gardens. “I’ve been seeing so many people turning their city yards into these big jungle like gardens. It’s neat to see people making something great with even tiny spaces,” he says. Nickels makes this connection between urban and natural in other works too, like “Appalacia”. In this piece, a camper in the Appalachian mountains appears half-made by organic matter. Like a memory, some of his images are abstract with a complex narrative, while others are simple and playful. With a strong tie to his roots and personality, more than anything, they are a reflection of Nickels himself.

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