Nick Jee, an artist from Houston, Texas, is a current student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio program. As an illustrator and concept artist, Nick’s academic focus is in painting and drawing, but also includes experience in architecture, visual communication, and fashion. Much of their work centers around world building and visual storytelling through environment and character design, however, Nick’s personal style tends to wander into the dreamlike realm of the abstract. Previous work experience includes internships at local art galleries and scenic design for independent theatre companies.
I design and create environments and structures to create worlds of the surreal and unreal through illustrations, renderings, and stories. Rigid mountains become waves of rock rolling over the landscape; static forms flow and twist with active, lively energy. I use a variety of tools and mediums; traditional drawing and painting for initial ideation, then watercolor, marker, ink, or even digital software, such as Maya or Photoshop, to begin the building process. My practice is iterative; I explore different options when it comes to content design, as well as choice of medium. Additionally, I write short stories that take place in the worlds I create. The stories both feed off of my designs and influence them as I’m able to flesh out more of the worlds I create through literature, rather than through just visual art alone. I study real world architecture, history, science, and social science in order to try to understand how the real world works, in all its complexities. If I can understand how this world works, I can create more realistic and lifelike worlds of my own. To me, a worldbuilder is someone who observes and studies what is already in existence, then filters that information through their own experiences and artistic style to create something entirely unique.