Thursday, 30 May 2013

Interview with Nik Pate

Hello Nik! Would you like to introduce yourself to my readers?

Good evening Waspins! My name is Nik, a twenty something full time deviant, based in the dark alleys/moonlit rooftops of London's East End. I masquerade as a photographer but I also enjoy Gothic Tower/Mad Scientist activities. Its 10.30pm and I’m in the bath writing this and listening to the Clueless soundtrack.... in a nutshell.

Talk me through an average day in the life of you?

Hmmm... I spend most of my days pondering/planning/sketching/editing/shooting/running/creeping around the Natural History Museum/re-watching Death Becomes Her or Edward Scissorhands/taking selfies whilst holding unfortunate looking dogs. It’s a surprisingly full day.  

Describe yourself as a child?

Basically 'Paranorman' (without the whole ability to see dead people thing). I was very much that awkward 'arty' kid that skulked around the deserted school corridors between classes head in the clouds clutching a sketchbook.


I grew up on the coast in a quiet little northern town just outside the tacky neon glow of Blackpool. My family has always been small and close knit. My parents were and still are massively supportive and encouraged me to challenge and develop my creativity. My little sister and I tormented each other from the moment she could walk, then she followed me to London and continues to torment me on a daily basis, she's pretty much my best friend. 

Has much changed now that you are fully grown?

Ha! Well apart from being a lot taller and a little more sociable.... no.

So how would you describe what you do if you were Jodie Foster in ‘Nell’? Seriously, that film is such a classic!

Well, I’d rather hear about her, as I'm sure I was raised by wolves in a previous life. I create images in the hope that when people see them they forget about their own shit and momentarily become part of another world (would be the deep and meaningful answer). I have always loved telling stories and bombarding people with my creations. It started at school when I began to study Claymation/stop-frame animation. I’d spend countless hours creating super detailed and elaborate miniature set designs, forcing my school to start an animation department. Then I progressed to the Theatre Department and set designing so I could work on a bigger scale. It wasn’t until Art College that I realised that I could only achieve a certain level of fantasy by building these mini worlds, which is when I began to take photographs and digitally manipulate them into something unique.

I think what Nik meant to say was; "Nnhhaaaahmmm num snarg ngcccccchhhn ngggkaa hnnnnhm kha fhlllllurg."  But anyways...  

This is very nice...

Fans of your work will know that you create insane pieces of art that showcase both your photographic and design skills. Was it always a conscious decision on your part to take control of every part of the process? Not that I’m suggesting you’re a control freak…

Control is a big thing for me.

As I thought...

I'm not one of these 'photographers' who can go out into a forest with a model and just let an image happen. The words 'organic' and 'natural' make me feel queezy. I like to plan everything from the type of eye lashes the model is wearing to the side of the mouth the she is snarling from. It’s not until recently with my shoot 'Whodunnit' that I have been able to successfully collaborate with another artist (Adam Harris Allwood) to work on the design and edit of the final image.  

How would you describe your creative style? It’s a lot like if a Disney Princess had a baby with one of those pesky aliens from Mars Attacks, isn’t it?

*Evil Disney Laugh* You pretty much summed it up perfectly there. It’s a glossy nightmarish wonderland that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think creatively, when you put too much emphasis in validation and 'fitting in' you can confuse your style. I have battled with portraiture and fashion photography, and have come to realise that London photographers already have that down, and they do it so well that there is no point in me adding to the numbers. Using my design skills with my photography allows me to create something that is unique and personal to me, plus I’m very lucky to have a team of creative misfits that I regularly work with who know exactly what my style is, and how to visualise an end product whilst prepping for a shoot.

Let’s discuss #Narcissus. That looked like a really exhausting shoot! How did you approach project managing so many naked muscle men at the one time?

*Evil Grin* Hellish right?? Luckily it was shot over two days... I doubt the studio floor could have supported that amount of muscle at once. Myself and my team were heavily sedated throughout, and a lot of chicken and Haribo were consumed.  Shhhhhh Nik! 


Also, if you were to send a selfy to one of those angels, who would you choose and why?

PW! Are you suggesting I’m the kinda boy that sends selfies to my unsuspecting victims??? It would be a selfie of me doing something stupid and it would go straight to my friend Matthew Riches (the central angel) as I know he'd 100% send something more ridiculous back, we are both equally as warped as each other.  

Oh and I would also like to know what the lead time is on you designing me a cloud to sit on?

I don’t see you sitting on a cloud... I see you straddling a giant ping-pong ball, kilt billowing in the wind, hurtling over an immaculate lawn being followed by a swarm of wasps. Something casual like that. (I hope your readers are well informed about your after school activity.)


Where do you find inspiration on a daily basis for your work?

Inspiration usually comes from the strangest and slightest of things, for example, '#Narcissus' sprung from a huge and immaculate Interflora delivery guy that I passed whilst I was out jogging (that I kinda fell in love with a little bit) Most of my ideas are born whilst I’m running/listening to music/watching movies. I have been blessed/cursed with a dangerously overactive imagination, and as soon as I have a fixed idea mentally, it quickly becomes a sketch and then an over-excited phone conversation with my hair and makeup artist/unsuspecting model.

And what do you think your work says about you? Like those Cub Camp posters for example, what do they say about you?

I'm not sure what it says about me, I know what I hope it says about me, but that can be distorted by people’s preconceptions. There is a tongue-in-cheek element to everything I do, which I like to mix with sexually provocative and sometimes dark and malevolent subject matter. I am a people pleaser, which isn't always a good thing in this industry as you will know yourself, when you release a piece of work you are unwittingly opening yourself up to negative criticism. As for the 'Cub Camp' images, hopefully it shows how I can directly represent a brand's definite image but still keep the '' trademark gloss... oh and my long standing love affair with hot inked beasts. 

In five years from now where do you hope to see yourself, fella?

Doing exactly what I'm doing now but on a bigger scale, in a warmer climate, with a live-in team that is like the 'Keep it Gay' scene from 'The Producers'... but more of an Addams Family vibe.  

Which flavour of ice cream best describes your personality, and how would you prefer to be eaten?

I'm not a fan of ice cream. I do like birthday cake though, in a themed napkin.  

Is there a God? 

Yes.... and she goes by the name of Meryl. You may know her from such biblical miracles as 'Death Becomes Her', 'The River Wild' or 'She-Devil'

Would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question? 

What are the top three secrets that you hide in your beard? 

Really??? Okay...   1. I have a legitimate crush on 'Real Housewives of New York' star Ramona Singer.   2. I might also have feelings for LuAnn de Lesseps? I dunno. It's really not that important.  3. I think I might be in love with you - just a little bit.

What happens next? 

This is the part of our story where the angry mob of villagers chase our unlikely hero back up to his gothic tower, where he will live out the rest of his days creating brilliant shit whilst dreaming of his lost love.

OR... I carry on working towards an exhibition that will take place at the end of the year (that I will be shooting you for), which will be accompanied by a coffee table book and... *exclusive PWS news*...a range of unisex, printed tees.  As for the immediate future, I will be spending the summer working on a big underwear campaign, securing an agent, and then heading over to visit the Americans and seeing how the NIKPATE.COM imagery goes down out there.... Busy boy.

Oh... and finding someone to ride off into the sunset with (on the back of Rex from 'Toy Story').

Obviously.  Thank you Nik!

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