This week’s artist spotlight, Cade Nelson, is the first grime artist to be interviewed in this series.
Grime art is a relatively new form of digital art where you make an image of somebody or something and add drips to make it look like the subject is melting.
Outside of art, Nelson attends Western Iowa Tech Community College, enjoys playing mythological video games and enjoys hanging out with friends.
You can find his works on his Instagram page @r3dm3dia.
Weekender: When and why did you start creating art?
Nelson: “I started doing traditional drawing when I was little. My friends and I would draw stick figures fighting. It slowly grew … when I was 11 I started drawing dragons. I was in the TAG Art program when I was in eighth grade and would always be doodling. Once I got to WITCC, I quit art. I started doing it again last May when I decided to try Adobe Illustrator. I watched one video … I’m very detail oriented, so when it comes to getting better, it comes quickly for me. In three or four months I improved a lot, and now I’m trying to make money by doing it.”
Weekender: What inspires you to create?
Nelson: “I think everybody knows me as an artist, so I want to keep that alive. Art, for me, is competitive. I’m trying to outdo people, so I’m always trying to get better. What I do, not a lot of people have seen done well. I’m trying to make drippy faces that look real. The more detail I get, the cooler it gets.”
Weekender: Who are some of your artistic influences?
Nelson: “I look on Instagram a lot; I don’t really know a lot of famous artists. I don’t pay attention to people like Dalí or Picasso. I’ll more likely look at stuff by Blackout Brother, who I think is pretty awesome.”
Weekender: What got you into grime art?
Nelson: “I was just messing around on Photoshop with a picture of me with a friend. I turned it into a cartoon and had slime coming out of my ears. It looked weird, and some chick asked me if I was doing grime art. I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up online. I figured I could do better work than what I was seeing online, so I started doing it. A lot of people follow me on Instagram because they like what I do.”
Weekender: What are your preferred mediums?
Nelson: “Once in a while I like doing ink or pencil drawings, but my preferred medium is digital. I like to use Adobe Illustrator. It’s available and it’s right there. I’ve ruined pictures on paper; with digital, once it is out there, it’s out there and you don’t have to worry about losing it. I can also go back and edit things. If I screw up on paper, it’s done; I’ve botched the piece. Also, I like digital because I can choose from a bigger assortment of colors. There’s a wider range of things I can do with digital.”
Weekender: Why do you focus on celebrities in your grime art?
Nelson: “I don’t have a huge following on Instagram, and if I want to be successful, I need to have a bigger audience. I think the best way that a lot of us are able to do that is to do a picture of a celebrity and tag them and hopefully they see it. If they re-post my piece, then there will be thousands of people looking at my piece, following me and looking at my art. That’s the real goal. It’s a stepping stone for exposure. I have had some celebrities re-post my stuff, but they didn’t give me credit, so I had to take them down.”
Weekender: What is your creative process?
Nelson: “I find a good, clear photo of someone and trace it; the line-work of the nose, eyes and stuff. I start coloring after that. When it comes to dripping, I have to make sure the drips follow the contours of the face so it actually looks like the face is melting as opposed to weird drippy lines that don’t make sense on the face. If I want to have bones sticking out, I have to make sure the bones look right; follow where their joints are … maybe have an eye socket being revealed or have some teeth showing. I have to make sure things look right. Accuracy is key.”
Weekender: What kind of mood do you have to be in to create your art?
Nelson: “It really depends. My friends play poker every week and I have no interest in it, so I sit on the couch and create art while hanging out with them. I know that if I don’t keep posting art, I’m not going to get better, so it is a constant grind. I don’t want to let people down who want to see my posts. It’s fun, too, because sometimes you look at a finished piece and wow yourself. I want to wow myself as well as other people.”
Weekender: Why do you create art? What does it do for you?
Nelson: “My mom likes to see it. One thing I like to do is show my family what I’m capable of. Not a lot of people are good at art, so I think it is something that you shouldn’t let go of. If you are born with the gift of art, run with it. The world lacks creativity, and I think a lot more people should embrace it. A lot more people need to show the world who they are and what they can do, whether it be singing, dancing or scribbling … whatever it may be, people need to show their creativity, and I feel like I’d be letting people down if I didn’t show mine.”
Weekender: What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
Nelson: “I want to inspire others to create. I also want to be the best that I possibly can be, and when I die, I want thousands of people to know who I was. Even if it was a couple hundred people; I don’t need to be the next Picasso … that’s not what I’m going for.”