Meet our September artist: Bryson Naik

Second up for the Neck Of The Woods Monthly Artist programme is local legend, Bryson Naik. Bryson’s work has ended up in a diverse range of spaces around Auckland, including the vaults of renowned art collector Sir James Wallace. Bryson is most commonly known for his electric colours, pop-culture references, Vai Lima patronage and strong link to his home suburb Onehunga.

He’s previously described his work as a “jump from hyperrealism to Manga to 17th century Baroque paintings, then to pixel art" (What’s Good blog, 2015). A frequent collaborator with Onehunga’s SWIDT, Bryson is one of the artists who created Olly Cafe’s huge indoor mural. Get to know Bryson a bit better in our exclusive interview below.

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Electric colours, incredible attention to detail and strong pop-culture references are a few stand out characteristics of your signature style. Is this style of work always been ingrained in your mind when producing art?

Not consciously, I guess it just developed from a young age like even in primary I was always the kid everyone came up to screaming draw this, draw that and I was terrible at the time so im guessing they just asked me cause I was so driven. With those experiences the focus of pop culture as the subject matter came naturally, all the kids wanted pictures of Goku or whoever they idolized and it took an entire year of life drawing once I hit uni to unlearn Akira Toriyama's rules of anatomy lol. When it comes to style I get bored easily so I've never placed restrictions on myself and I feel like I can do it all, there's no harm in being multi-faceted and I'm constantly pushing myself to learn new things.

You have been producing poster artwork for gigs for years, creating graphics for clothing and also working on mural pieces. What has been some of your highlight projects to date and why?

One of two things that come to mind would be my first exhibition ever back in 2013, I was fresh outta high school and it was curated by Chloe Swarbrick (was her first exhibition also), I got to show alongside my all time favourite illustrator Vincent Fasi and thanks to Chloe we managed to sell a few works to the OG Sir James Wallace which was huge for a bunch of alcoholic 18 year olds. The second would be the wrestling tee I designed for SWIDT which was inspired
by a studio called Pen & Pixel who were responsible for my favourite era of rap album art, an era which is still massively influential to this day and it was an honour for me to pay homage to something that I've admired for so long.

 Above: Bryson's t-shirt design for SWIDT. Photo by Brendon Kitto.

Above: Bryson's t-shirt design for SWIDT. Photo by Brendon Kitto.

You take photos as well, all on film. How long have you been doing this?

Since film was cost efficient, my family didn't have a digital camera till 2006 so film was pretty much all I knew until I got my own first proper DLSR in 2011.  I'd love to shoot film more often these days but it's too time consuming (and expensive) for me to get things developed.

You rep Onehunga pretty hard, which is cool. Would you say Onehunga has had a big influence on your ideas and aesthetic? 

Everything I do is Onehunga.

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Locally and internationally, what artists, photographers and designers do you admire or rate heavily?

I've honestly got too many to list especially international inspirations but I hold the locals closer to my heart. We live in a country densely populated with the most talented people in the world and it's a shame we don't have the infrastructure to support them and they have to run off and be mad successful elsewhere.

Dream Client?

Vailima, it's gonna happen one day since I'm the only Samoan graphic designer in the world.

Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?

THIS.

Top five tracks to work/draw to?

Future - Codeine Crazy
Gangsta Blac - Tire Shop
Doe B ft. Project Pat - Return Of Da Mac (Remix)
DJ Screw - Chapter 16: Late Night Fuckin Yo' Bitch
Creed - With Arms Wide Open

Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?

All of these artists I would love to have seen in their prime or while every member was alive:
Three 6 Mafia, DMX, Hall & Oates.

Can you doodle us a pic of you eating your favourite meal?

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Follow Bryson at @naik2g

Know an artist we should work with? Please reach out!