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Nick Atkins is an artist in the truest sense. His work is a direct representation of the thoughts, ideas and visions he must create to feel at peace, never resting and obsessive over the next thing.

Best known for his online video series, TVTV, Nick has recently moved on from the video format to explore a new direction creatively. “The film was more documenting what was going…for a couple years or so I was filming a lot of stuff and it felt important. Now everybody has Vine and is making videos of themselves.”

With his new work Nick is trying to go back to painting, sculpture and more traditional studio work. Catching up with Nick at his studio in Bushwick we talked about his latest craft and focusing on a new direction.

JAMIE:

When did you get started on this series?

NICK:
Late last year. I started off drawing sketches and from there I sculpted them and started shooting them. A lot of this stuff comes from screenplays I’ve been writing. Some of them are storyboards and some are stories and series I’ll start working on.

JAMIE:
Where does the idea usually start?

NICK:
The idea for a story or a screenplay starts in my head and from there, certain characters, images, and scenarios come out that I want to paint. Most of the stories are fictional but are based on things that have happened or I have heard happened in New York or other places I’ve been.

JAMIE:
Tell me a little about the story.

NICK:
The one I’m working on now is called Hanji Party. It is set in a post-apocalyptic environment where there’s very little life left. It is kind of an acidy, trippy adventure plot with a little bit of sci-fi that is mostly about unity of all people. This one is kind of about my experiences in Haiti.

JAMIE:
What were you doing over in Haiti?

NICK:
I have a family connection to a hospital there that has been open since the ‘50s. I’ve been going there off and on as a little kid, checking it out and helping out the little bit I could, but after the earthquake dude, they needed a lot of help.

JAMIE:
So you got into video while you were over there?

NICK:
I got a lot of video when I was over there but I was into video beforehand. TVTV was an idea started by friends of mine, an old Boston crew. Everyone would take video footage with their cell phones or through little flip cameras and we would put it together and that would add up to TVTV. Nobody really did it and only I ended up doing it and everyone was pretty much happier with that so I did it to show what was going on to my friends, what was up.

After doing it for a year here, I ended up going to Haiti so it became a travel documentary. It was great for me but also tough because I had all these crazy memories on video from Haiti. A lot of it was harsh. It is an interesting thing to have it all backed up. Now that it has been three or four years since starting the project, a lot of people are making videos just like that and putting them out, expressing themselves through [videos]. It’s cool, [but] on to the next you know? Eventually all [of my work/ideas] will be part of the same thing, eventually all of this will be filmed, or on film.    

JAMIE:
So TVTV set the tone for your next projects?

NICK:
Yeah, [with TVTV] I was mostly trying to have a voice, have my style and sensibilities come through.  Whatever medium it may be, whether it is sculpture, video, painting or graffiti, its all my style. Even if [other] people are making videos and stuff like that, the TVTV stuff is going to have my style which hopefully translates with [my] painting and [other projects].

JAMIE:
I don’t want to stay on the video too long but one thing that caught me was the music…

NICK:
Yeah, the music happened totally organically. A song [would evolve from] whatever would stick in my head that week or if somebody would send me a new track of theirs. Especially being in Haiti, a good way to learn Creole was to get new music from [the Haitians] and try to break it down, try to understand it. A lot of music I really liked and [the video] was an opportunity for me to express myself through somebody (laughs) else’s tunes and put it out there.

JAMIE:
How often do you get over here to work?

NICK:
I try to come everyday. Sometimes, I don’t even leave. I just sleep here.

JAMIE:
You can get a little obsessive over it?

NICK:
Yeah it is, and I’m definitely the type of person that when I get into something, I’m easily invested, but I haven’t been much happier.

JAMIE:
It seems like it’s this thing in your head you want to work on and get out…

NICK:
Yeah, I just got to get it out. I have no problem taking time, its already taken ten years. Some of the ideas I’ve had for a long long time. If it takes another ten years, it’ll take another ten years.

Nick will be working at The Newsstand June 15th.