Design Story: Nick Gazin, Art Editor at Vice Magazine

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Nicholas Gazin and I’m a quarter Irish, which I base on my mother finding out she was half-Irish from a DNA test. 

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What do you hope to bring to Belfast Design Week?

I’m bringing a Belfast Giants jersey that I hope Calle Ackered will autograph. Go Giants!

I’m also bringing a lot of Titanic themed souvenirs I want to return for store credit to the Titanic museum gift shop.

What inspires you?

Comic books, illustration, old advertising art, other artists and movie posters are probably the most obvious and desired answers. 

Another true answer that people probably want to hear is being stoned and listening to jazz and letting my emotions guide what my hand draws or paints. 

Another answer is that I’m inspired by my mother who’s a great painter named Tani Conrad, my sister Penelope Gazin, who is a great painter, animator, clothing designer, dancer, musician, and my girlfriend, Shawnee Potts, who is also great. 

Another real answer is that fear, guilt and anxiety motivate me because I find the physical act of drawing and painting calming. 

Another inspiration is my social limitations, probably aspergers, which have made communicating through oblique methods preferable to direct conversation.

What does design mean to you?

Art made to serve a function. 

Where does Belfast lack in design?

I don’t think it lacks in design. Is Belfast Design Week intended as a design intervention? Stay the course, Belfast. You’re all right!

If you could do any design project, not in your design field, what would you do?

I wasn’t aware I had a design field. I try to rise up to any potential opportunity that’s presented to me if it seems interesting.

I’m unsure what my fantasy project would be so I’ll try to remind myself of what I like. 

My favorite things are cats, marijuana, drawing/painting, books, records, comics, sneakers, video games, dreams, Disneyland, Kubrick movies and walking around aimlessly. 

I guess I’d like to create little play-tents for adults to hotbox and nap inside but also there’s a small bookshelf  and a li’l toy piano inside and portraits of great cats on the walls. 

I now realize I’ve basically described a tinier version of my apartment. 

I’d like to do delicately watercolored labels for a line of bottled salad dressing. 

What is the funniest thing that has happened in your design career?

My art being stolen without my being compensated for it is always funny.

What would you be if you had not become a designer?

I think of myself as a portraitist more than anything. I enjoy designing records, posters, T-shirt graphics and things like that but if/when the bottom completely falls out of the creative industries I assume I’ll still be drawing and painting people in the rubble of our civilization until wild irradiated dogs eat me. 

How does your design shape future heritage and vice versa?

Future heritage?! I keep imagining cyber-pilgrims when I read this word. I choose to answer this question with the jacket art for Neuromancer.

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Finally, what do you hope for the future of design? 

I hope people stop using Adobe Illustrator when trying to replicate organic textures. Just because a tool allows you to do something doesn’t mean it’s not hideous. 

Much like in 2001 and Jurassic Park, humans have invented technology beyond our understanding and it is working against us. 


Hear from Nick at Design Camp and take part in his Communal Zine Workshop.