Ben: For some readers that may not be familiar with you, can you give a brief introduction of who you are and what you do?
NickyChulo: What up unfamiliars! I’m Nicholas Fulcher aka NickyChulo. New York based Art Director and Graphic Designer. I specialize in the design and execution of commercial as well as independent LP/EP/Single campaigns. I dabble in photography in my downtime and 95% of the time you can catch me listening to music.
Ben: How do you balance your work between Atlantic Records and freelance?
NickyChulo: The balance is pretty easy simply because most of my freelance clients are people I’ve known for years. We both know how we work and we get things done efficiently. I rarely take on new clients. I feel like I’ve mastered my work flow as far as my full-time, freelance, and personal time. Can’t lie it took me years to master how I move, haha! Shout out to everyone rocking with me one time.
Ben: In your interview with DJBooth, you speak about communicating the message of the artist through the artwork. Your work on Sylvan LaCue’s “Apologies In Advance” comes to mind instantly! What was it like communicating the message of mental health which is so apparent throughout the album?
NickyChulo: Man. When Sylvan sent me the project I already had an idea of the approach I wanted to take. I wanted to create a strong logo/symbol for this project that would withstand time and solidify this project as a classic in time. The photographer, Jonathan Benavente, told me how he wanted to create an AA meeting aesthetic for the album shoot so after I send them my logo work they got a big banner printed for the cover. Everything went down via groupchat and I’m shocked at how smooth it all played out. All in all when you make a STRONG thing, music, product, ect. A strong mark will compliment and grow with the art. Take the nike logo for example. There was a time when it was JUST a mark. With Nike’s team and persistence they became globally recognized. A timeless mark isn’t created. A timeless mark is grown.
Ben: You have an array of artwork under your belt at this point, can you touch on your favorite and what the process was like in creating it?
NickyChulo: My processes change all the time I go through many phases as an artist. I did a lot of experimental collage work this year. Instead of touching on one single work I’ll touch on that. It’s nice breaking away from strictly digital work and using my hands. Collage work took the cake in 2018
Ben: Some of my favorite work of yours has to be with Jon Bellion. The artwork is always perfect representation of the music! From the character development by David Ardinaryas Lojaya to your typography on The Human Condition. What was the process like in creating the album artwork and artwork for each of the tracks?
NickyChulo: When I first started working with Jon & Visionary I was excited, but I also put an ungodly amount of pressure on myself haha! Essentially my job was to create memorable type that didn’t take away from the impact of David’s illustration work. I’ve seen a lot of Bellion fans with tattoos of type I created. A very humbling find to say the least.
Ben: I was surprised when I saw you contributed to Whethan’s “Life Of A Wallflower Vol. 1.” Whethan is actually from my hometown so it was really cool to see! What was it like working on an electronic focused project?
NickyChulo: Well, working on Atlantic sometimes we get requests from artists on the Big Beat label. One of the requests for artwork came from someone working Whethan. They sent over his vision which was pretty rough, but I knew exactly where to take it. He’s an extremely talented musician. The genre of the music doesn’t dictate my approach to design. Good design and good communication transcends the “genre” box. I was pleased to hear he loved the artwork haha!
Ben: What has been your favorite album / single artwork in 2018? Whether you lent a helping hand or not!
NickyChulo: I have three. Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy because of the VAST recognition it received. Jon Bellion’s Glory Sound Prep because Jon really took the time to communicate what he needed and had me come into the studio 1 on 1 to hear the album before it’s release. An artist has never done that for me before. Lastly Sebastian Mikael’s ICUUCME Part 1. Sebastian spent a lot of time sitting with me working on the cover for his EP. A lot of trial and error, whiskey, great stories, and great synergy. By far my favorite 1 on 1 experience with an artist. I can definitely call him a good friend after the time we spent working. A lot happens via e-mail these days so the human connection was refreshing.
Ben: Can you dive into what Trap Karaoke is and what you do for them?
NickyChulo: Trap Karaoke is an event where you can go sing your favorite trap, rap, or R&B songs on stage with thousands of people singing along with you. It’s a safe space where everyone can really have a good time. If you haven’t been you should definitely go. I’m the Art Director for Trap Karaoke. I handle the branding/visual identity and make sure everything is visually communicated well.
Ben: If you could work with one artist on a project, who would it be?
NickyChulo: Hmmm I would have to say Childish Gambino or Saint JHN. The artistry that these two musicians have is whimsical to me.
Ben: What advice would you give to a designer that wants to get into creating album / single artwork for artists?
NickyChulo: I would say first and foremost practice your craft, make a mess, attend the shows, meet artists that are coming up, not necessarily the artists on the forefront now. Build with an artist you believe in. Start from the ground up.
When working with musicians they may give you ideas, but come up with your own ideas/concepts as well. When you’re working with these musicians on creative YOU are the talent. (shout out to Thuan Tran aka @OnLunchBreak). You’re allowed to push back.