Find Your California with Nico Guilis
Who is Nico?
I am a painter/ artist , photographer , filmmaker , I have two old Chevy trucks , surfboard / skate designer , take my work serious , conceptual artist , goofball , travel lover , hard working, love to cook and love music , I collect jazz records from the 40s , my brain works in vintage time frames and I feels like my brain is always creating .
I grew up in a small town next to Malibu , went to Art / FiLm school at Cal State Long Beach then did Venice Beach for a year & took off for New York to work for an artist. New York pushes the best artistry out of you but is also tough on the mind and body. NYC spurred the idea for FindYourCalifornia - I’d spend winters in Puerto Rico/ LA & needed to connect back to my childhood because I started feeling too removed from how I grew up & who I was.
Last year after a nonstop 3 years of travel , I got a spot in a beach town an hour n half south of montauk and hour n half away from city. This is where I began my journey designing skateboards and surfboards. I needed to get quiet and begin using my hands and brain in another way. I spend my time between east coast and California
Photography or Film?
I photograph and film all my content so it is hard for me to choose which medium . There are quiet moments you get in still imagery that make you hold on to a feeling & Video steps into an world of emotion and excitement that is continuous and raw and real. I don’t use a DP when I film - I will sometimes use a second shooter on a big job to capture from a different angle - I like capturing my own moments because I can’t teach what I am seeing nor do I want to.
What people don’t know about me is I am super quiet & focused when I work , I hate BTS on set , I won’t allow iPhones and I don’t like being distracted. I think there was an overwhelming need to capture every single moment which often takes away the magic of what photography used to be. I also think many women have to work twice as hard to prove themselves - it hasnt been an easy road staying true to myself.
Tell us about skateboard/ surfboard design?
I began doing my artwork on blank skate decks and then started going to this legendary factory to buy more blanks. The owner and I clicked & id go in for different shapes , wood , styles. When I decided to produce my own board with them - I began pushing for different painting techniques. It’s about the process that makes me different and my design aesthetics stand out.
That artwork spilled over on to surfboards and I did my art on 12 reclaimed vintage unsurfable boards. Those pieces will go to an exhibition and that led me to a surf factory. I am now designing in there doing my art by hand and we glass the board. All my surfboards are one of a kind customs and I fucking love making them. It has opened a whole new awesome side of life.
Are you a surfer / skater?
I’m a shredder !!! Lol. I skate to get around - never for tricks just for Croozing. Same with surfing - fun board but not ripping cut backs on a 15 foot face. It’s different when you travel with the best surfers / skaters in the world - you get good at your job capturing them because it isnt easy and you many times are in physical situations that mentally can challenge you. I admire them so much - they keep me so inspired
Where you want to shoot?
Up and down the coast of Australia , Road trip from Paris to Biarritz , Ireland. 3 places I hope to do content in this year :))
5 people youd want to work with?
Zoe Kravitz, Diane Lane , Anna Wintour , Jean Pigozzi , Seymour Chwast