For this installment of our interview series “A Pizz With…,” we sat down with graphic designer/artist and DatPizz staff member NIPZ. His unique artistic style and vision has had him doing artwork for artists like Horse Head, Shrimp, Lil Peep, and CHXPO. We pick his brain a little and talk about his beginnings, his goals, and his relationship with the mysterious 5k.

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Lets start this off with something simple, who is NIPZ?

I’m a 19 year old graphic designer and art direction. I mostly do cover art for underground artists but I also do some flyers, merch, and branding. I like to keep my social media pretty anonymous in terms of my actual identity, I try keep my image mostly about the art.

How long have you been practicing graphic design for?

I made a few cover arts in late 2016 for just for my own iTunes but I didn’t really start taking it seriously or working at it until January 2017. I actually started because Mackned had posted a public competition for the cover art of Hurt Cobain III. I made a bunch of covers and he liked one of them enough to post it and make it his avi on Twitter, but he didn’t end up using it. After that I decided to keep working at it by making alternate cover arts, and my first real placement was a CHXPO single cover in March, after he and Jake$and had seen the alt I had made him.

So you began in January of this year and got your first placement in March. Did things just blow up from there after the CHXPO art, or was it still a slow process to begin networking with other underground artists?

It was a pretty slow process. I barely got any clients at first. I did the cover for BB Sun & Nedarb Nagrom’s “Cruel Summer” EP in March but besides that I didn’t start getting clients until like April. A rapper I’d been DMing back and forth with added me to a group chat with a ton of underground rappers and producers and that’s where I started to make my first connections. From there, I started to get more clients, and I ended up doing Mackned’s “Walk on Water” mixtape cover that same month. After that I had an alternate Young Thug cover and a couple Newest Magazine posts which got pretty good traction and got my name out there.

Lets talk about some of your affiliations. Youre member of 1500 Collective and Creator Cartel, not to mention all of your work for DatPizz. How did these connections come about?

DatPizz was a connection from before I even started doing covers, I had initially wanted to help out with some of the discographies and then as I started doing cover art they helped me out along the way. I met Sife the Indigo, who’s a cover artist/rapper, through that chat I mentioned before and he basically started Creator Cartel and I was one of the first members. For 1500, BIGBABYGUCCI had tweeted that he was looking for more graphic designers for the group and I sent him my work. He liked it and asked me to send in some flyers as sample work, and then added me like the next day after sending them.

How long did it take you to establish your own unique artistic style, and is there any specific work that you did that you can point to that encapsulates your style the best?

I think it started developing by like April but I hit my stride with those vintage style covers I was doing in May/June. Now I think I’m finally starting to have a style that’s purely my own, where I use a lot of vintage textures with bright but simple color schemes, typically contrasted with black and white elements done in sort of a punk style. I do different styles tho depending on the request, though. In terms of what best encapsulates my style, my favorite pieces I’ve done are GOTHBOICLIQUE – “Pictures 2”, Shrimp – “Runaway”, Steven Cannon – “Clout”, Drayco Mccoy  – “8 Ton Gorilla” (alternate), BIGBABYGUCCI – Dream World and Austin Skinner/NOLANBEROLLIN – “Goin Fast“.

What’s it like working with 5k?

5k the DatPizz owner? It varies. He has a solid vision for what he wants to do with the site and brand and lately has been working really hard on it. In the past it’s been more difficult in terms of communication but I’ll leave it at that.

Editors Note: Seems like NIPZ is trying to catch hands.

What does the rest of 2017 have in store for NIPZ, both in terms of art that has yet to be dropped and plans for rest of the year?

I have some art (hopefully) dropping soon for a few of the biggest artists I’ve worked with yet but I can’t really reveal who yet. I’m gonna keep working on work for Datpizz and 1500 and then just commissioned work in general. Keep an eye out for Lonny X’s “Full Court Press” mixtape dropping soon, which has art by me that was already revealed, and also the DatPizz x Blackhouse Records collab tee that is on sale now.

Considering how quickly you’ve risen to prominence in the underground scene, what are your goals/aspirations for 2018 and beyond – and where do you see all of this taking you?

Honestly that’s pretty hard to say because I didn’t start doing this with any aspirations of making a career out of it. It was basically a hobby I picked up as a bored high school senior and a way to get involved with the music scene I loved without actually making music. I definitely want to keep improving and making better designs for bigger clients. I’m just now picking up more branding and merch projects beyond covers and that’s something I want to do more of. I’ve been figuring shit out and learning as I go so I’ll just keep working hard and go wherever it takes me.

Is there any meaning behind the name NIPZ and why did you choose to stick with that name instead of something more marketable.

Nah there’s no significance to it at all. I don’t really like it at all but it’s memorable and easy to search on Twitter. Anytime I’ve tried to change it people have encouraged me not to. Someone even told me they like the simplicity and it reminds them of KAWS. If I think up something better I’ll definitely change it, and if I get some sort of industry job I’ll probably just go by my government name.

Alright we should wrap this up, this has been pretty insightful. Are there any events in the near future you’re planning on attending?

Not really in the near future but I’m hoping to make it out to SXSW next year with the rest of the DatPizz crew and some of our artists.

Anyone you’d like to shout out?

Besides you and the rest of DatPizz, the whole Creator Cartel team has helped me out a lot since the beginning, especially Night Guy, Jer, Davis, and . Also want to thank the artists that gave me a lot of opportunities early on: Mackned, $teven Cannon, and BIGBABYGUCCI. I’m probably forgetting some important people but I appreciate everyone that commissions work for me and everyone that supports my work! I’m not shit right now but I feel like this year I was figuring stuff out and next year I’ll be able to start actually succeeding.

Made possible thanks to:

Questions by: Colby Baldwin & 5kirr
Edited by: 5kirr
Other Words by: Stevie