out perform // outlast // out work
After scrolling through about a million useless Facebook posts, I was about to shut my laptop down for the night. “Five more minutes.” A status update from an old high school friend showed up, a stunning head shot of the man he’d grown into since I’d seen him last. There was just something about the photo, the crisp resolution and honesty that it portrayed. I thought to myself, “Man, I wish I could work with that photographer!” I did a little detective work, tracked down the man behind the camera… and stepped into the world of Regan Nishikawa Photography. Two things drew me to this photographer: the clarity of the images and the creative ways in which they were used. Nishikawa had pictures of music-page tornadoes, people reaching out through mirrors, guitar-trees and a woman holding up a giant clock like Atlas himself! I was hooked. It was like I’d fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. I sent Nishikawa a message to let him know he’d made a new fan in me, and thus began a new and exciting relationship. Earlier this week, Nishikawa and I decided to begin collaboration on a new project. Though South Carolina and Oregon are a fair ways apart, we gave it a shot. A series of “Marionette” themed images, such as the one seen above, were the result. I was blown away by Nishikawa’s work. This man was a true artist! And who better to feature next on “Out of the Woodwork”?
Give us a little background on how you came to love visual art.
[Regan] “I started loving art when I was a much younger kid. You know how it is with kids, they’re all about creativity. I had my stick figure phase where that’s all I drew, and I would come up with these elaborate war scenes with these giant armies facing each other. Of course what goes along with that are stick figure comics! I’ve drawn quite a few as a kid, and I guess that’s where it started.
In middle school I took my first art class, which I ended up loving and continued drawing almost every day. However, it was also at this time that I was exposed to the writing side of art and I fell in love with the idea of becoming an author and writing creative stories. So after middle school I started thinking I’d be an English major later on. Skipping to Junior year in high school (at this point I hadn’t taken any art classes since middle school) I believe I just needed some credits to fill, and I’ve always enjoyed art so I took an art class (finally). I believe I actually took two my junior year, fell in love with it all over again and took two more in my senior year. At that point that was about all I could take (as far as classes that were even available). I ended up regretting not taking them sooner, but it had been enough to change my mind about what I wanted to do after high school.
Skip to beginning of freshmen year of college. This was it, I was going to college, and I definitely thought I’d be going to be a Fine Artist. However, after much debate, discussion, and explanation from my advisers I decided to switch my focus to Graphic Design. What swayed me was their argument that as a graphic designer, I can still take fine art classes (painting, drawing, sculpture etc), but you couldn’t take the graphic design classes as a fine artist. So that got me, and I put my determination into getting into the graphic design program. Which I did, but also around this point I picked up the camera. I had always enjoyed taking pictures, but I’d never had any real practice with it or any lessons on how to use it. From then on I’ve been focusing on both my graphic design degree, and my photography hobby taking as many photography classes that I can and experimenting as much as possible.”
Did you ever consider other careers growing up?
[Regan] “As I said previously, I had thought I’d become an author or even a comic book artist when I got older. Even now I still love writing, but it’s more for my own fun. And of course the comic book artist, like I said I went through my stick figure phase and creating those comics, and I always thought it’d be fun to continue that and get really good at drawing and make a webcomic. Some of the key things that really pushed this idea were the comics I grew up with such as Calvin and Hobbes (even now, this comic is brilliant and I love every part of it), and some others such as Foxtrot and Zits (Zits was more applicable to me since it’s about a teenager and I
read it as a teenager). And lastly, my older brother actually had his own webcomic for a few years while in college. It wasn’t huge or popular (mainly family and friends reading it), but it was that system of giving yourself a deadline and meeting it, plus the fact that you can go online and find it still excites me.”
Of the “14 People to Watch in 2014”, who interests you most?
[Regan] “Hopefully this doesn’t seemed biased! Though it kind of is, but the two photographers Lisa Tucker and Jake Simpson. I love finding new photographers seeing their styles, and learning from them.”
If you could work with any of these artists, who would you choose and why?
[Regan] “Definitely Lisa Tucker. One thing I actually would like to start doing more of is collaborating with other photographers. It’s great to see what their combined strengths into a single image can create. Taking a look at Tucker’s conceptual photography, that’s more along the lines of what I like to do (and want to get better at). Also, like I said above, working with an experienced and well knowledgeable photographer lends itself to information to gain and skills to absorb. I’ve got a lot to learn, and quite a bit ahead of me in terms of what I could do, so definitely working with another similar but much more experienced photographer would be a great experience.”
Which of these elements do you think best represents you: Earth, Wind, Water, or Fire?
[Regan] “I’d probably associate myself with Water or Wind. People assume that Fire means you’re an aggressive person, or at least a lot more forward with how you are. Earth are generally more solidified, stubborn, and set on what they have in mind. Water and Wind people (especially Wind) are more floaty, open to changes, calmer, and for me personally I see them being more patient and level headed with their decisions.”
Give us some trivia facts about yourself!
“I’m the youngest son of three.
I’m half Japanese and half Lebanese.
I play the piano, used to play the violin, and I like to pretend I can sing even though I can’t.
I’m content with eating zucchini and bell peppers for a snack.
Oreos are my addiction and kryptonite.”
If you’d like to check out Regan Nishikawa’s work, head over to facebook.com/ReganNishikawaPhotography. Regan works from Oregon, good news for West Coast readers! I’ve been blessed to be able to work with this creative and talented artist, and I can’t wait to see what else he releases throughout 2014! Until next time, I’m Chancy Johnson,
Here to bring the best of the best~
Out of the Woodwork.