Simply stated, Now On View celebrates and showcases the artists of Society6 and their work. Get to know them—and then get lost in their gallery.
Who are you and what do you do? My name is Nick Misani and I’m a designer, letterer, and sometimes illustrator; and in the last few years, I’ve specialized in historically-inspired, custom typography. In addition to who I am professionally, I’m also (in no particular order) a greyhound dad, a recently-converted coffee drinker, a somewhat militant vegan, an often grumpy introvert, a francophile, and the type of person who overthinks everything to death and is thus great at parties.
Current city: At the moment, I’m living the remote life in Europe and am currently in Northern Italy for a couple months.
Clients: Apple, PepsiCo, Target, AirBnb, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, the Hillary Clinton Campaign, Print Magazine, The Village Voice, The Pratt Institute
How did you make these? I start with a sketch, which I do by hand. This is, in many ways, the hardest part of the process, since I’m trying to distill the feeling of a particular location (and my memories of traveling to that city) into a single illustration. Because authenticity and realism are my top priority, I design each piece with the limitations of traditional mosaic technique in mind. Once I have a design I like, I plan the tiling techniques and patterns I’ll use throughout and begin the “grouting” phase. The “grouting” is a rather time-intensive process that involves drawing each tile individually and adding small imperfections, one by one. There are generally up to 10,000 tiles in each piece, and each one of those tiles is then individually colored. Finally, I add some lighting and textures digitally and sometimes Photoshop my shoes into the illustration. I love this last stage because it transforms the mosaic into an environment (albeit a simulated one), giving it a sense of scale and place.
Why did you make these? The old typographic mosaics that grace stations, hotel entryways, and old storefronts in Europe (and beyond) have always been fascinating to me, but it wasn’t until after I started working for Louise Fili—and especially working on her two latest sign books, Graphique de la Rue and Gràfica de les Rambles—that I began to truly appreciate them. During this time, I had the pleasure of looking at photographs of gorgeous mosaics every day. I spent many hours digitally restoring these images to prepare them for inclusion in these books and often had to recreate missing or obscured areas. I created the first “fauxsaic” on a whim, for an Instagram contest held by Typism, though the technique had been developing naturally for months prior without my realizing it. I think I kept making these super time-intensive illustrations because mosaics seem like the perfect convergence of three of my major interests: typography, interior design, and decorative arts.
What’s been the most challenging part of creating, while life is happening? Staying inspired, by a long shot, is the toughest challenge. When your livelihood depends on being creative, tons of anxieties and insecurities can get in the way, which don’t help foster an environment in which creativity can easily flourish. Also, the enormous amount of visual stimulation on Instagram quickly goes from inspiring to exhausting and, I’ve realized, makes it harder for me to create. I’ve lately been taking plenty of social media breaks, which has really helped my mood and workflow.
Social: @nickmisani (on Instagram)