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Nick Guenzler (a.k.a. @TerminalRadness) is an artist/illustrator/graphic designer hailing from the Southern California region. Growing up in a coastal/desert climate has definitely been influential to his work - note the surf/skate/skull vibes in his illustrations, but it’s his unique, minimalist illustrative quality that’s most intriguing about his work. After working as an art director for six years, he’s now living the dream as a freelance artist. Nick's work is featured in the upcoming Adidas Spring Line, so we thought it was a good time to ask him some questions and possibly get some answers to how one becomes so badass.

He’s now living the dream as a freelance artist.

Hey Nick! What do you do for a living and how’d you get into this line of work?Yo! I guess I’m an artist for a living now, and under that umbrella it’s split between graphic design, illustration, and fine art. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. But I eventually went to school for graphic design, and from there I’ve been fortunate enough to have my work land in the hands of the right people.

What’s the best part about what you do?I get to share my perspective with a broad audience, and make a living doing what I love. I also get to meet tons of rad people, people I look up to or grew up looking up to. It’s been an incredible experience, and I’m super fortunate.

Who/what inspires you to make art?Life, music, humor, architecture, philosophy, it can be anything, really. I constantly have an urge to make things, whether it’s drawing, painting, building furniture, it can even be as simple as baking bread. I always feel like I need to be producing things. I was having drinks with a friend a few nights ago, and a two-minute portion of a two-hour long conversation, inspired what will likely be the direction for my next body of work. Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time, and for me, it always seems to happen when I’m not looking to be inspired.

How did you get into skating?Early on, in elementary school, my big sister was friends with this kid who was a skateboarder. I thought he was the coolest kid I had ever seen. He had a cool haircut and rode a real skateboard, with cool graphics, from a skate shop. After seeing him ride his board, I asked for a skateboard for Christmas that year. I kind of dabbled from then on. I didn't get serious about it until I was around 10 or 11 years old though. My parents signed me up for football, and I quit a week into it, I wasn't allowed to do organized sports after that. Skateboarding was the anti-organized sport, so I gravitated toward it.

What skateboarders/surfers did you look up to when growing up?I always looked up to people that were doing creative things, whether it was with skating, or outside of skateboarding. Ed Templeton, Geoff Rowley, Gonz, Duane Peters, Chris Pastras, and Dan Drehobl were the people I worshiped growing up. Ed, Duane, Gonz, and Dan probably had the most lasting impact on me, as I pursued a career in art. I’ve always liked surfing, but I never followed it the way I followed skateboarding, it was never as accessible to me as skating was. I lived in the desert for a long time so beach trips were few and far between.

Skating/surfing show up in a lot of your work. Have they always been part of your creative work? I think so, even if it hasn’t always been direct or obvious. I think if you come from that world, you can recognize when someone else comes from that world.

Have you always worked independently? Have you ever worked an office design gig?I’ve gone back and forth, I started out working independently, and eventually took an office gig. I worked an office gig, as an art director for six years, and left in early 2016 to do my own thing.

What’s the lamest job you worked before you were a full-time artist? I drove a forklift and did some mechanical work for a bit, but that was kind of rad. I think the lamest job I worked was retail, in a shopping mall. When I started college, I wanted to work at a skate shop, or a record store, but none of the indie shops were hiring. I ended up working at a super lame, corporate mall-goth shop, I’ll let you connect the dots there. Anyway, I eventually landed a part-time design gig while I was still in school, so I did what any good employee would do, and I just stopped showing up. Funny, months later I was on a date, walking to the movie theater in that same mall, and my old manager saw me and ran out of the shop. She handed me an envelope with my final paycheck, it was for seven dollars. Don’t be a deadbeat like me, put in your two weeks, kids.

Are you working on any cool projects right now?Just wrapping things up for 2016, and getting 2017 mapped out. There are a lot of good collaborations coming. Hopefully some more deck graphics and things will be releasing as well. I’m working on releasing Terminal Radness art tees more cohesively, I’m trying to do something different and exciting with it. I’m learning the hard way that these things take time, but stay tuned, and keep up with the social media stuff, 2017 will be a banger.

How did this project with Adidas come about?One of the dudes on their creative team was familiar with my work, and what I do synched up well with the vibe they had going for the season. They approached me and asked if I’d be down to do some work with them, which I of course said yes to. Aside from Adidas making some of the best skate stuff out there, all the dudes over there are super rad. It’s been awesome getting to meet them and work with them. I’ve been super anxious for this stuff to be released. I think it is my favorite work to date, and I’m excited to see how people react to it.

Your love for David Lee Roth is great. What’s the origin of the Diamond Dave Friday posts? Thank you! I've listened to Van Halen since I was a kid. Kind of a long story, but I used to have a super long commute, like 50 miles one way, traffic sucked hard, but Fridays were always a breeze. Every Friday morning, I would blast Van Halen II on the drive out. That eventually carried over into the office, and I just ended up listening to classic Van Halen all morning, up until lunch time. Some of my buddies at work took notice, and the phrase Diamond Dave Friday was coined. It was poking fun at something a cheesy dad-rock station would do, like Rocktober, and Metallica Monday’s, or whatever. After I left my full-time gig, I thought it would be fun to keep it going on social media, so I started posting rad photos of David Lee Roth. It’s not ironic or anything, Diamond Dave is a national treasure as far as I’m concerned.

Any advice for the young aspiring artists out there?Be honest with the work you’re making. Make work that represents your perspective, and be persistent with it. It's cliché to say, but things don't happen overnight. I think the biggest mistake I made early on, was I did what I thought I should be doing rather than what I would be doing if left to my own devices, too much outside influence. Don’t let yourself go hungry, but don’t feel like you need to follow the grain to get by. Much like romantic relationships, there’s always someone out there for everyone, if you put yourself out there, your audience will eventually find you.

Any memories of the CCS Catalog? I got my first CCS catalog when I was 11 years old, it was such a huge deal to me.It was over summer vacation, and my family had just moved from the coast to the desert. I remember getting it in the mail and being so stoked. I didn’t know anyone so every day I would go outside and try and grind this little cable box thing that was in our front yard. When it got too hot to bear, I would go sit in my bedroom and stare at the catalog for hours, looking all the deck graphics, and fantasizing about building my dream arsenal of skateboards. It was always a good day when you’d get the new CCS Catalog.

Shout outs or anything you want to add? Sure, thanks to everyone for all the support and big thanks to Thomas, Ben, Jon, and the crew over at Adidas Skateboarding! Hopefully everyone loves this collection as much as I do, so we can get more of it out there. Also, thanks to O and Tod Swank, I have an artist series deck out right now with Foundation Skateboards and J. Grant Brittan, so be sure to check that out. Shout out to my dudes at PinkSlime Gallery in Philly, just had an art show over there. Lastly, if you like what I do, you can check out my daily happenings on Instagram via @terminalradness and pick up prints and other stuff over at terminalradness.com.

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