Best Visual Artist

Brian Raynard Nickson

Staff Pick, Readers' Choice

It’s been a transformative past couple of years for Brian Nickson, whose illustrations and paintings often incorporate celebrities (like his portrait of O.J. Simpson, which he says was inspired by a Jay-Z song) and other pop culture references (like a recent painting involving the child from H&M’s recent racially charged viral faux pas).

Nickson, 31, says he only started pursuing art full time last year after what he describes as divine intervention. He says he had been making money from his art since 2014, selling prints off of his website. It was during one trip to the post office while off from his day job working at Chrysler’s Jeep plant in Toledo when he decided to take the plunge. “I was in my car and I thought, ‘God, if I’m not supposed to be working at this plant, just give me a sign,” he recalls. “As I pulled out of the post office, my exhaust pipe cracked in half.” Nickson says he never looked back.

You can see Nickson’s work at the upcoming Black Identification exhibit at the Carr Center in June, and the Palmer Park Art Fair in August. —Lee DeVito

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