Updated: Jun 22
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE OF LITERATURE OCT-NOV-DEC 2021 (Vol IV, Issue XXIV) | Article Published on: 12TH JAN 2023 | www.demodemagazine.com
Internationally known artist, Nick Sider, is a self-taught acrylic painter based out of New York City. He paints in a hyper-realistic style, attempting to create subjects that appear as though they are alive on the canvas.
"FROM CANVAS TO SUCCESS: NICK SIDER SUCCESSFUL JOURNEY"
Nick Sider gain interest from collectors all over the world, particularly for his large Lion and Tiger Paintings. While he only began painting at the age of 25, Nick Sider had a dream of becoming a professional artist ever since he was a child growing up in Ontario, Canada.
Sider grew up with a love and passion for art, obsessively drawing a multitude of subjects from animals to comic books to cartoon illustrations. He had big respect for wildlife artists and was always collecting books and images of lions and tigers to use as inspiration. Sider was also very impacted by Disney animation, particularly The Lion King. He won an award in Kindergarten for drawing a lion and quickly decided he wanted to be an artist when he grew up.
His family moved from Canada to the United States in 1996 and Sider continued to develop a love for drawing. He was quickly recognized in school for his artistic ability and began competing in school art competitions. As the school continued, Sider gained other interests and, after several unfortunate art class experiences, decided not to study art after high school. He graduated college with a theology degree and worked with charities and churches for nearly 3 years. Eventually, Sider knew that something was missing in his life and needed to make a change.
At the age of 25, Sider decided to quit his job and begin to pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist. He was incredibly fortunate to have parents that both supported and encouraged this decision. His mother, who was a talented painter, gave him the set of her old set of paints and paintbrushes for him to use. While he had a great deal of experience with graphite and drawing, Sider had done very little painting. So he spent the next year teaching himself to paint while working two part-time jobs. Channeling his inner child, Sider naturally began painting wildlife, specifically lions and tigers. After selling his first few paintings, he decided to relocate to New York City in 2014 with the dream of showing in a prominent art gallery in Manhattan. Through several years of working temp jobs, doing caricatures as a side hustle, and getting the occasional commissioned painting, Sider was finding little success going the art gallery route. So he decided to make a shift and focus on building a social media presence, a decision that eventually launched his career.
In 2016, Sider began creating a 5ft hyper-realistic self-portrait and posted updates of the painting on Facebook and Instagram. Soon a video of Sider’s self-portrait and other artwork went viral online and received over 10 million views. Thanks to several more viral videos on social media, Sider began to gain international recognition for his hyperrealistic paintings. This was followed by his very first solo show in NYC in the summer of 2016. He moved to a new studio in Brooklyn, NYC, and was able to start painting full-time.
While experimenting with a multitude of subject matter, Sider has always maintained a hyper-realistic style, attempting to create paintings that extend beyond what a photograph could ever capture. “My favorite moment while painting is when a subject on my canvas begins to come alive.” His main goal for his paintings is to use detail and color to create the illusion of life spawning from the canvas. In 2017, Nick Sider began working on a series of large-scale Lion and Tiger Paintings as an ode to his childhood obsession with drawing big cats. He loved the idea of creating paintings that his kid self would love to see in a gallery.
In 2018, Sider threw his own Solo Show in Manhattan, NYC, and continued to gain recognition for his Lion and Tiger Series. Over the next few years, he developed a waitlist for these paintings as they gained global popularity. In 2021, Sider finally achieved the goal he set for himself when he first moved to New York 7 years prior. He was approached by Galerie Bartoux, an internationally acclaimed gallery based out of Paris, France. With locations all over the world, Sider began showing in their Manhattan location in Central Park.
2022 looks to be a big year for Nick Sider as he will have his very first Museum Show at the Zilman Art Museum in Maine. He also hopes to expand his global appeal with plans to show his work publicly around the world through Galerie Bartoux. Sider currently works in his studio in Manhattan.
NICK SIDER'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DE MODE
Q: Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
A: I wanted to be an artist ever since I can remember. However, when I turned 25 I decided to pursue art as a career. I had gone on a vacation to Jamaica and remember I didn’t like telling people what I did for a living. I told myself I wanted a job that I was proud to tell other people about and that felt like me. I came back home, quit my job, and started to pursue a career as an artist.
Q: Can you tell us the process of making your work?
A: My paintings often start with a grid system so that I can have the correct proportions. When I look at someone’s artwork, the proportions are always the first thing I notice. If they are just a little off, you can tell immediately. I almost always start painting the eyes of a subject. I often say if the eyes are correct, the rest of the painting will work out. I then continue the painting using a style I created that focuses on the building of thin layers rather than blending the paint together. This creates a great deal of depth and color variation within the painting.
Q: What is your definition of art career success?
A: My definition of art career success is loving your art and the process of creating it while being able to make a living at it. I know of artists who have achieved great financial success with their artwork but do not enjoy creating the art. To me, true success lies in doing what you love and, hopefully, getting paid to do it.
Q: Who are your biggest influences?
A: As a kid, I was highly influenced by wildlife artists like Robert Bateman and Alan Hunt. Also, have great respect for Dali and Picasso as they both had amazing technical skills and yet were able to develop incredibly unique artistic styles.
Q: How do you navigate the art world?
A: I like to be informed about it, but not take it too seriously. The art market is very controlled by trends and money. While I like to know about the current art market, and am inevitably a part of it, I never want it to dictate my artwork decisions or practice.
Q: What brushes do you use?
A: All different kinds... some of my favorite brushes are old ones where the ends are worn down. This allows for a dry brush technique I often use in my paintings. I load the paintbrush, brush off most of the paint, and then lightly brush the paint onto the canvas to create a subtle soft layer.
Q: Which current art world trends are you following?
A: I don’t know of any current trends I am following. I do see Hyperrealism becoming more and more popular, but I was not aware of this when I began painting in this style.
Q: If you mentored younger artists who are beginning their art careers, what single most important piece of advice would you offer?
A: I would tell them to find a style of art they love creating. To be successful, you have to work long hours and produce a great deal of art. So make sure you love making it.
Q: What invaluable art business lesson did you learn in the past year that took your career to the next level?
A: I learned the value of investing in myself and my practice. If you trust yourself, work hard, and believe in what you’re doing...invest in yourself. Bet on yourself.
Q: VDo you have an essential philosophy that guides you in your creative expression?
A: I always strive to challenge myself with each new painting. The moment when it gets too easy, I get bored and I need to move on.
Q: What personality trait do you have that has been most helpful in your art career?
A: I have trouble focusing on many things at once, but have always been good at being laser-focused on one thing at a time. Lucky for me, that works for puzzles and painting.
Q: What art marketing activity do you put into practice regularly that works most successfully for you?
A: I always think about my social media following and what would be interesting for them to see. I often try to come up with fun, different ways to share my painting process through photos and videos.
Q: What famous artist from history would you like to spend a day with and what would you do together?
A: I would spend a day with Picasso and we’d paint portraits of each other.
Q: Do you have a favorite photograph or painting, which inspires you?
A: Probably Guernica by Picasso.
Q: How do you feel to be on DE MODE?
A: I am both honored and excited!