#110: Nick Runge - "Finding Balance Through Abstraction"

Born in 1985, artist Nick Runge grew up in Colorado. Coming from a creative family of professional artists, he was always interested in drawing and imagining ideas visually. Starting in 2004, he began thinking about art as a career and got the chance to begin small jobs in and out of the comic book industry. After 2006, he worked as an illustrator for various comic companies such as IDW, Dark Horse, and many others. While primarily making a living as a cover artist, he began painting more seriously and started exploring the world of film art and traditionally painted projects, doing various official and private commissions. These days he has stepped away from commercial properties, focusing exclusively on fine art and personal work using oils and watercolor.

As a portrait/figurative painter, Nick works from life as well as photography, describing his art as something close to “abstracted realism”, with an objective of expressing as much of the realistic human element of life as possible through a limited and often simplified approach to his rendering or brushwork, giving an illusion of realism while, at the same time, breaking shapes and form down enough to have a close balance with abstraction.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The reasons why he began his career as an artist in illustration

  • Making the transition from being a professional illustrator to being a fine artist

  • Steven Pressfield’s book, “The War of Art”

  • Creating mental devices to help you clearly navigate though your career

  • His experiences working in the comic book industry

  • Commercial viability of analog and digital artworks

  • Pitfalls of the American educational system

  • The financial realities of being a working artist

  • Art and design existing everywhere

  • How the arts are supported and unsupported in America

  • Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now”

  • The movie poster that Runge was commissioned to illustrate for the documentary, “The Death of Superman Lives”

  • Ideologies about tribes and community

  • AI creating artworks


  • Art collectives



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