Recently, I learned that one of our servers at Café Alfresco, Nic Conrad, is also a painter. His artwork is currently featured in the November/December 2019 issue of Tampa Bay Magazine. Nic has been a member of the team for just over four years, often found working the day shift, where I’ve had the opportunity to chat with him from time to time during my lunch break.
Our brief conversations were never long enough to get into the details of life outside of Café Alfresco, so, what a surprise when I came across his work featured in the latest issue of Tampa Bay Magazine. I couldn’t believe it was the first time I was hearing about his artwork!
Nic’s paintings combine bright colors with intriguing, abstract shapes that create unique, but lucid images of everyday life. Nic is a humble guy, but I instantly became of a fan and pressed him to tell me more about himself and what inspires him to create. Here’s what I learned:
Meghan: So Nic, when did you start painting?
Nic: Years back, I hit some hard times. I happened to find art supplies that were left behind in the attic of the home I bought and decided to start playing around, painting with the acrylics on canvas.
Meghan: Wow, that’s incredible. Your talent was meant to be discovered! No formal training then?
Nic: I’m a big fan of Picasso’s work, so, I’ve just painted a lot of abstracts. There’s a quote Pablo Picasso said that I think fits my work well, “You start a painting and it becomes something altogether different. It’s strange how little the artist’s will matters.”
Meghan: Yes, I can see the Picasso influence now that you say that, but your work also has its own personality. Where do you find your inspiration?
Nic: My daughter’s dog, my grand-dog, Max, he’s my muse. I’ve painted him quite a few times, but usually, an idea will just come to me and I’ll go with it. I’ll start painting on canvas and then I’ll hang it in my home where I can see it all the time. And I’ll add to it over and over again, and then when it seems like I’m finished, I’ll ask for someone else’s opinion and if they like it, I’ll stop working on it. I paint because it’s therapeutic for me.
As a viewer, what I love about Nic’s work is how you can sense that he allows his creativity to flow; that his process isn’t rigid. More than just colors and shapes, there is movement and life to his work. I have a feeling the feature in Tampa Bay Magazine is only the beginning for Nic. If you’re interested in purchasing one of his pieces, you can email him at NicConrad@yahoo.com