EDITOR: Every month, EFNIKS features a new artist in the title art of each section of the website. In addition to featuring their work, EFNIKS wants our readers to get to know the queer creatives whose work you see. Below, a chat with this month's artist, Nic Perales.
EFNIKS: Welcome, Nic! How is your week, how is life, talk to us?
NIC PERALES: Whats up everyone! Life has been busy, but I’m writing to you guys from the beautiful San Diego this week.
EFNIKS: How do you identify: race, ethnicity, gender, pronouns, sexuality…?
NP: I am Filipinx cis gender lesbian woman born and raised in San Jose, CA. Pronouns are She/Her. Favorite food is tacos. I listen to pretty much all kinds of music but currently I keep replaying Mi Gente by J Balvin. I just noticed this sounds like my dating profile lol.
EFNIKS: What is your background with respect to art and various artistic media? Any formal training or education?
NP: I’ve always had this pull towards art. I had gone to the Ohio State University for a year in the pursuit of a business degree while maintaining an athletic scholarship. I realized at the end of my first year there that my true passion was in art. I was fortunate enough to transfer and earn a BFA at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in Web Design & New Media. I am in marketing now, but I still do freelance web design and I have more recently been doing a lot more freelance photography.
EFNIKS: Is there anything about you, your experiences, your values that informs your art and how you present your style?
NP: Growing up in San Jose I was and still am constantly surrounded by Latinx culture. A majority of my friends are Latinx and I was raised by my step dad who is Mexican so I have a lot of Mexican and Latinx influence and inspirations in my work. I also base my styles on the music I listen to in which I allow the music to flow through me and onto the media I’m working on.
EFNIKS: Do you feel any expectations or pigeonholing about how people approach you, given your race/ethnicity, gender presentation, and sexuality? Do people place limits (even if subtle and suggestively) on what you can do?
NP: As a woman of color and an artist its very difficult to get jobs. By jobs, I mean paid jobs not “favors” or payment that’s even below the minimum wage. Depending on the environment of work I’m in kind of determines how people approach me based on my appearance and sexuality. When I do artwork or web design I’ve never really had a problem or judgement on how I was dressed or presented. I do freelance photography work on the side and will help other photographers if they need a second shooter on whatever job they are working on. I helped photograph a wedding a few times and I was almost not allowed to do a couple of weddings because they thought I was a guy and I obviously did not look straight. I’m not extremely butch, I would consider myself more “stud”, but more so I am just me and this is my style so I was very disheartened by the clients that had that outlook on me and felt for anyone else who has gone through that similar experience.
EFNIKS: Tell us about the pieces featured on EFNIKS.com for the AUDIO edition?
NP: Tribute to Chavela Vargas and Lud Ocanada (Vector) [on the Deep Dive page] is exactly what the title is. Chavela Vargas is one of my favorite Latinx musicians, she was known for taking songs that were typically only sung by men and made it her own. She was also known for her feminism and lesbian identity. Theres many that said she had a relationship with Frida Kahlo and many other women back in her day which was extremely taboo. Lud Ocanada is my grandfather, who is a constant inspiration to me even after his passing. He always pushed me in learning art and music because he was a constant learner. He even taught himself how to play the piano at the age of 70.
Faded (Screenprint) [for Stories of Us] was created while I was in college in San Francisco. I was inspired by Kid Cudi’s album Man on the Moon because this album really helped me understand about my depression and knowing I wasn’t the only one that felt these heavy emotions.
Crayon Wax (Canvas) [on the EFNIKS Daily page] was my first experience with mixed media while also embracing the rainbow that represents LGBTQ. I was finally feeling comfortable to embrace who I was because previously I had never really liked to wear or display anything that called too much attention to me. So this piece was kind of my first step to acceptance.
Break Up Mess (Oil Paint on Canvas) [for EFNIKS Media] was my reaction and release of energy after going through my most recent breakup. There’s chaos in the layering and different levels of paint to give it some abrupt texture. The red stripe was to show the disruptive and destructive experience I had gone through.
EFNIKS: Art is important to EFNIKS, and we want to continue to push art and artivism as regular and recurring parts of our mission--what would you tell up and coming artists about finding spaces where they can flourish and shine?
NP: I believe it's always important to get your work out there in different forms, whether it be prints or digital media. I find a lot of beauty in traditional forms of art like paintings, letterpress, and screen print, but it’s also important to include the advances of technology and using it to progress your style. Whether you find coffee shops to display your art or websites to display it, exposure and networking is the best way to find new opportunities.
EFNIKS:Anything you want our folks to know, any words of wisdom you want to drop on the children?
NP: I’ll leave with this quote from my favorite poet,
“Step your game up. Work for what you want. Don’t give up until you reach your goal. No breaks, no procrastinating, no distractions. Stop waiting for other people to be your come up. Create your own lane. Put yourself on. That way you don’t owe shit to anybody. I stopped depending on people once I realized I couldn’t afford to put my career, feelings, and/or life in somebody else’s hands.” - Reyna Biddy
EFNIKS: Where can we find you on social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, got a SoundCloud? Personal website?
EFNIKS: Thank you for your time, Nic. You’re a dope human.
Send questions and comments on this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.