NickyChulo is an art director with a unique music and design vision. Whether it’s album covers, singles, merch, logos, billboards, or shoes, such as his collaboration with Converse, NickyChulo knows how to immerse himself in the culture and make impactful work that others can relate to.
NickyChulo partnered with Toyota at ComplexCon 2023 for a workshop that helped attendees bring their visions of their favorite album or playlist to life.
He spoke with rolling out about ComplexCon, being a designer, and why Black designers are essential.
How do you bring your designs to life?
My designs are more about education over decoration and being intentional with what I do. So when I work on bigger-name artists, it’s like, “What are you trying to portray here?” [We] make sure we portray it so everyone understands it. My work isn’t messy, so if you go on my comments, you’ll always see, “Oh, that’s clean.” I’m like, “Yeah, it’s intentional.” I think being direct with visual communication is where I thrive.
What can Black designers do to get their work noticed?
… It’s something that I want to do more research on. European design and German design that’s what design is, but these visual systems are not inherently Black. I want to learn about Jamaican sign painters, what’s happening in Ethiopia and Brazil, and where’s their basis of visual expression. That’s my next step. Black designers, in general, [just] need to stick together, communicate, and share resources. When I post my work, I share my processes. It’s important. I’m not hiding anything. I think if someone can build on something that I’m doing, [the] better. It’s better for me, it’s better for them. It’s better for the ecosystem.
What steps should someone take to become a designer?
I think it’s going to be a matter of figuring out what field of design you want to be in. Do you want to be a fashion designer, do you want to be a graphic designer? Is it architecture or interior design? My pocket is music. Figure out that pocket and speak with people in the space, whether they’re a designer or not; just jump in and have those conversations. Figuring out what you like and don’t like will lead you to where you want to be and grow and expand from there. That’s how you find where you want to land and what you want to be.