Romain Nicoloso sees far beyond the world in front of him. The industrial designer turned artist is a seasoned traveller who’s now settled in Hong Kong, he captures cityscapes and ancient ruins and adds his own little unexpected twists; Skyscrapers become tennis courts, crabs become boxers and people are turned into superheroes. We caught up with him to chat about his creative process and what drew him to Hong Kong.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a French industrial design, graduate from Strate College Design School in Paris and working today as a Retail Design Manager in Pernod Ricard. My passion for design, as well as my professional experiences enriched my artistic style and creativity. I started this creative journey 4 years ago when I first moved from Paris to Sydney. Even if this has always been part of me, travelling and meeting people from other cultures open my mind and helped me a lot to make it real.
How would you describe your work?
My illustrations are the reflection of my personality and my child’s soul. I would like to share this feeling with everyone to give them the opportunity to create too or simply bring colours to their life. I would say that my work is at the edge of street photography and illustration.
What was the process of developing your style of drawing?
Every illustration has a different story. They link to a particular event of my life: a meeting, a trip or an emotion. I represent them through different forms I know, like animals, objects or totally taken out of my imagination. like spaceship or robots in the city.
My process creative is different according to the day or my imagination. Most of the time I take the photo and then the idea of the illustration comes to me instantly. Sometimes I also like to look at my old photography to inspire myself. However, it is really rare that I think about the illustration before taking the photograph. I like to keep my mind free and instinctive without thinking about the illustration to be inspired by what I see and not the other way around.
What’s the hardest part of your creative process?
The biggest challenge for me at the moment would be the time. I love to create those illustrations but I am not in a quantity process to I like to spend time to explore new ideas, new tools…but this requires a lot of time. I try day after day to free some more time to improve and innovate in my work.
Which city or place are you drawn to most or inspires you most?
This is without a doubt Hong Kong. I settled with my girlfriend in Hong Kong almost 3 years ago and fell in love with this place instantly. This city has everything to inspires me, an intense city with skyscraper, busy streets with life, beautiful scenery landscapes, luxuriant nature…and I could add more. Every morning when I walk in the street in Wanchai I am looking everywhere around and thousands of ideas come to my mind. Sometimes I even feel to draw in real life but this might come in future projects.
What has been the best reaction to your work?
I like to receive sketches from people telling me that my work inspires them to start to draw as well. We all have our own creativity and as soon as you let it free it won’t leave ever after. This is what happened to me and I now always need to have a pen in my pocket and a piece of paper…or my iPad.
Tell us about your favourite images you’ve created.
My favourite illustrations is probably “The Hong Kong Ice-Cream”. This picture is a perfect mix between the Italian culture and Hong Kong’s one with the Ice Cream and the Neon Signage. As a French with Italian roots and living in Hong Kong since 2017, those two symbols are a perfect representation of myself and my creativity. I like the tones and the rotated angle given to the photography which makes it almost surrealist. We can see what is it but don’t instantly understand the way to look at it. This is how I like to play with forms, colours and whites lines.
What made you settle in Hong Kong?
This was an unexpected reason as I was already trying to settle in Sydney before moving to Hong Kong. However, as I do with my illustration I like to let myself free to explore new opportunities and experiences. That is why instead of settling in Sydney we moved in with my girlfriend in 2017 to follow our professional opportunities and this is the best decision we made.
What’s one thing more people should know about Hong Kong?
This is really complicated to tell with words what people should know about Hong Kong. When my family or friends are asking me I prefer to invite them to see by themselves. This city is indescribable as there is so many things to see. People should know that Hong Kong is like something they can’t see and experienced anywhere else.
And finally, what’s next to you?
I am working on new projects with independent event and companies but also developing my work to animated videos. I am constantly trying to improve and explore new fields to challenge my work. Follow me on my Instagram page @romnic83 to see my next projects or for collaboration. My prints are also available soon on my website: https://romnic.gallery/