The rich, textured and figurative visual vocabulary of Adam Niklewicz | #MemberSpotlight

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Based along the East Coast of the United States, Artist Adam Niklewicz lives in Connecticut with his wife and dog, crafting wondrous illustrations for a number of different clients around the world. Interestingly, Adam believes he would also make an excellent cook.

Adam's concept-driven work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, The Society of Publication Designers and others, and we can clearly see why. With work performed for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Corriere della Sera and countless other top clients, Adam's illustrations have a unique flavour to them, something that appears equally creative and simple. Though we know there's hardly anything simple involved in creating such beautiful art.

In this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about Adam Niklewicz and his art, represented by IllustrationZone.


How did you get into the industry?

I majored in Illustration/Graphic Communications at Washington University in St. Louis and moved to New York City right after my graduation. The portfolio I created there at Wash U got me started.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I’m still on the East Coast of the US (in Connecticut).  My current clients include: The Chronicle of Higher Education, Psychotherapy Networker, The Society for Human Resources Management, The Center for Public Integrity, The Christian Century Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Education Next, RAND Review… 


If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I’d make a decent cook!

Can you explain your creative process?

My studio is a kind of distillery. The term describes my basic approach to creating a concept-based image. Turning a complex, nuanced (at time, convoluted) subject matter/theme into a poignant, meaningful visual, one that speaks to the very essence of the theme, calls for a process of elimination (or distillation of sorts).  For the sake of clarity, you remove everything that is superfluous.  This way less is more, and this is my process!


How would you describe your style?

Concept-based figurative. My style allows for flexibility. I take advantage of this and make sure that both the tone of the illustration and the visual vocabulary I use are just right for the particular assignment.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

The artist David Suter is my hero!


If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?

The client that confidently relies on my experience and does not suggest too much is the ideal.  This describes my best clients.

How has technology affected the way you work?

I paint my images with acrylics on gessoed illustration board, but before I e-mail them to my clients, I refine them a bit further on the Photoshop.  This way, there is a marriage of the low and high technology at work.


What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Each project is a new challenge and the deadline is a motivator. 

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

Perhaps the fact that I don’t feel burned out and look forward to each new project with a lot of curiosity.


How do you recharge away from the office?

With a glass of red wine on my back porch watching the sunset reflected in big pine trees (a short play of orange vs green) at some distance in front of me.  It sounds banal, but it is true.  

What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?

I honestly have no idea!

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

I would outlaw the stock illustration!


Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

Decidedly IllustrationZone's website. There are truly excellent artists there.

Browse the top ranked illustrators here!


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