One look at Nick McPherson's work and you'd think he was one of those strange introverts in the vein of Robert Crumb and Ed Roth, sitting around his room creating bizarre creatures and characters that are an extension of his inner reservations and idiosyncrasies. There's a bloody, snake-headed man in a designer suit carrying a briefcase full of cash. A party of monsters that look like a healthy mix of George Herriman's Krazy Kat strip and those vintage Warner Bros. cartoons that might have been just a tad, well, politically incorrect.
But you wouldn't know it by looking at this week's cover. There's no weird little creatures in “Float,” a beautifully designed cityscape that could easily pass for your standard township. You've got your factory, a couple of churches and what looks to be a few apartment complexes. But then there's that whole thing of it being in the middle of a body of water and all.
“I wanted it to be an enclosed world, all on its own in the middle of the ocean,” says McPherson, “sort of its own world without any outside interference. I recently visited Italy and got to go to Venice, and the idea of a floating city really appealed to me.”
Considering the sign in the middle of the city, we'll assume that McPherson is the mayor of the floating city or perhaps some founding father celebrated on one of those arbitrary months where there's no major holiday. In real life, McPherson (www.nickmcpherson.com) is the art director at 619 Graphic Design, where he's worked on everything from a wine-label series to surfboard design for Rusty. But he says his real passion will always lie in his own imaginary worlds.
“I have been drawing for as long as I can remember,” says McPherson, who's currently showing work at the Mission Café in North Park. “I always had a sketch book with me even when I was little, drawing spaceships and monsters all the time, wherever I was.”
He has plans to get into jewelry design and mural work so that he can “really leave a big mark on the art scene,” but he's also happy with how people have reacted to his work so far.
“I always hang out at any gallery openings and listen to what people say. Some love my stuff, some thinks it's too cartoon like, but a lot of viewers really respond to the emotion I try to convey into my characters. Some of the works that I have sold were not the ones that I thought would be popular. Usually, the works that I like the least are the first ones to sell, so with all the variety of people in San Diego, you never know what people are going to like.”