Congratulations to artist Nick Bultman, our latest Instagram winner! Based in Arizona, Nick paints futuristic abstracts in acrylic on wood panels. His use of light, shadow, and perspective, as well as contrasting organic and geometric shapes, help convey a sense of motion and energy in his work. Nick often embellishes his paintings with gold leaf and a glossy resin topcoat to accentuate their incredible vibrancy.
Describe the type of art you create.
"I create energetic, abstract objects, worlds and landscapes inspired by the natural world and the man-made world. I started out being more interested in the shape/form itself but now that I’m experimenting with metallic shapes, glass shapes, neon lights and drop shadows, I’m starting to find a really cool space of abstract, futuristic realism. I am captivated by motion, contrast, symmetry, high-energy, balance and forced perspective and am inspired by themes such as duality, chaos/order and entropy. I seek out techniques that spontaneously capture unique forms that have never been seen before."
What’s your art background? Are you self taught or did you study art?
"I’m self-taught. I did not go to art school but always wonder how much better (or worse!) my learnings would have been if I had gone to art school. So much of the energy behind my art comes from a long-time, built-up desire to professionally monetize my creative interests, but instead, I stuck to a more traditional path with high school, sports, university, and joining the corporate business world post-university. While I’ve learned so much from that traditional path, I know my interests and abilities are in the creative sphere. This built-up desire, plus social media giving me such a sudden, large following has affirmed my newfound creative path in a way that I don’t know would have been possible by going the traditional art-school route from the very start. Although, perhaps, learning about color theory and art history could have helped me, I’ve heard art school as a whole can be more theoretical than applied. One of the mottos of my University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is 'learn by doing', which I strongly resonate with."
Are you a full time artist or do you create around work hours? As of now, I’m not a full time artist. I work in Business Development for a tech software company that treats me very well and I love the people I work with. It’s a fully remote role so I’m able to maintain the flexibility of being a good husband, dog dad and artist, all while honing in on my business skills which is important for also running my art business. Because of this, I typically do art in the afternoons and on the weekends. However, since my studio is (currently) my garage, it’s definitely difficult to work in [Arizona's] 110+ degree temperatures between June and September!
What do you hope someone sees or feels when they look at your art?
"In the majority of my work, I try to show a sharp juxtaposition between symmetrical lines and natural paint movements. This makes my paintings stand out rather than blend into their surroundings. I want people to feel the energy behind my paintings and be inspired by each work’s energy and motion; I want people’s immediate senses to be captivated by the unique forms; I want their imagination to run free with how those forms resonate with them. A motto I strongly identify with is 'show, don’t tell'."
What do you love about the mediums that you use?
"I like using acrylic since it’s easy to clean, dries quicker than oil, is less toxic, and is less expensive. I use only medium-body acrylics, since I’m most familiar with those but am looking forward to trying both light body/watercolor effects and heavier body and more impasto techniques in the future. Most of the materials I use are easily sourced from a local crafts store (Michael's and Jerry’s Artarama in my case) or a hardware store."
When did you discover resin? How has it impacted your artwork?
"I discovered resin a year ago after loving how some paintings I saw online had a 'glass-like', perfectly-transparent top-coat. I had to find out what it was and how I could utilize it!! Honestly, resin in general has been a love-hate relationship of either taking a piece to the next level of beauty, or frustratedly fixing a warped panel, dust spot, bubble, etc. Resin is not very forgiving and needs very specific conditions to look perfect. However, with the online tutorials, great transparency quality, and non-toxic aspect of ArtResin, this brand has hands-down given me the best results. My perfectionism makes the resin process a great challenge and I’m excited to continue mastering it!"
Can you provide a rundown of your process?
"Sure! I start with a general feeling, concept, theme, or mood that I’m trying to convey in my work. I’ll usually start with both a rough color palette in mind from these ideas, as well as the intended movement and what utensils would be required to convey it. 90% of my time is spent mixing paints, preparing canvases, masking, executing digital renders, and planning. However, the real magic behind my artwork relies on that single, organic movement. After several attempts on practice canvases, I build up my muscle memory to ultimately convey my motion to a prepared canvas. My brain shuts off, and my body becomes one with my utensil. Since every muscle movement critically affects the overall composition, I will only attempt the movement when I’m prepared and in a flow state. From there, I try to immerse myself in the soul of the movement and extrapolate on the story that lies in front of me, and add complementary details such as drop shadows, deep perspective beveled geometries, natural material color schemes like wood and gold, and neon light fixtures. I’m willing to spend a lot of time to get a technique or a paint blend 'perfect', which gives my paintings the illusion of a stark contrast between perfect lines/blends versus organic, flowing movements. This contrast strongly highlights the organic movement, which I believe is the core of my process."
What motivates you to create art?
"I notice that I take a lot of inspiration from hip hop, electronic music, graffiti, extreme sports, and the general freedom of movement which gives me a sense of rebellious, inspired, freedom. When I’m in a flow-state, hours of time can pass by without me noticing, and I love that feeling. While a large piece can take dozens of hours to complete, with a lot of late nights and intense focus, the end result of a piece coming together makes the grind worth it every time. After a big piece, I’ll need roughly a week to recover and regain inspiration again. Another source of inspiration is my wife, Lauren, who is incredibly supportive, holds me accountable to my goals and helps me navigate this new life that we’re both now a part of. Sometimes, hanging with friends, traveling to new places and mentally separating from art really helps clear the way for new inspirations to come up, as well."
Does creating art help you in other areas of your life?
"Ultimately, art has helped me gain confidence in myself. I’ve always felt like I needed a place to 'fit in' and have a purpose, and art has given me a vessel to want to put 100% of my effort into and it’s very nice to feel rewarded and affirmed for that. Like many others, though, I do feel a sense of imposter syndrome that I believe social media has created. I really want to provide a consistent branding online and provide a great viewing experience and relationship with my audience which can sometimes come at the cost of my own mental health. Since I crave being seen, acknowledged and affirmed by others, I have to be careful not to let that affirmation stifle me from growing past my traumas and staying true to who I am. But ultimately, art has given me both a personal and professional opportunity to achieve more than I ever thought was possible."
How do you define success as an artist?
"To be honest, I’m still working on this. What I know for certain is that I’m most proud of my work when I’m pursuing something new and pushing the boundaries of my technique. It pains me to recreate artworks since the original intention of the art piece is difficult to re-tap into. For me, art is such a personal expression that, perhaps, success may look like: staying true to my own journey and not trying to do something with the 'wrong' intention. For me, I have to acknowledge that I’m a human and I’m going to have ups and downs both personally, creatively and professionally, so being kind to myself in the tough times and humble in the great times has proven to be very important. Therefore, I think success will be less measured on anything monetary or publicity-wise, and more on how proud I am of simply doing my best."
Where do you sell your work?
"I sell my work on my website, at nickbultmanart.com or nickbultman.com (I have both domains). You can purchase ultra-high quality, giclee reproductions of my best work directly from my website along with a few older collaborative works. However, I’m currently directing all original artwork purchases and pricing inquiries through my gallery. I’m represented by an amazing group of people at Red Eight Gallery in London, UK. They specialize in blue-chip & emerging artists and since partnering in July 2022, they’ve helped introduce me to both the professional side of the art world, as well as the international market and I’m very excited to announce an upcoming solo with them in 2023."
Visit his website: nickbultmanart.com
Follow him on Instagram: @nbultman_art
Congratulations on your win, Nick!
To celebrate all of our amazing artists, every month we will be sending out a 32 oz kit to a couple of artists who have tagged us on Instagram—and we'll share their work with the world!
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