“I believe diversity is the most important thing to being creative.”
Where did you grow up who were you most influenced by growing up? (King Nerd/ Johnny Dowell) I’m born & raised in West London & I’m based here too. Apart from the obvious choice of my parents which goes without saying. My biggest influences growing up were my grandparents. I spent a lot of time with them and seeing their work ethic was a great influence on me. My Dads’ father was a very confident man with no fear for travelling, trying out new things and meeting new people. This confidence was something I really lacked when I was young and seeing how he approached life helped me believe more in myself and gain confidence as I got older.
And at what age, at what moment in your life, you decide to become an artist? (KN) Being artistic was always my strongest skill growing up. I can draw, paint and design. It comes quite naturally to me. Maths and other subjects were never my strongest abilities. Being in a creative field I feel has just happened over time because it’s what I gravitate towards most.
How did you get your artist name King Nerd? (KN) Growing up I was always the nerd, I always spent my money from my first part-time job on comics, cartoons, toys & customising the fashion I wore. I’d always spend my money on those things before I spent any on going to a nightclub with my friends. The king part of the brand name came later, I wanted to find a contemporary word, “Nerd” and an old word to go with it which was “King”. That’s basically what King Nerd stands for “Old New”.
“London has everything, it’s diverse, it’s a place of a million different styles and personalities.”
How is living in London affecting your creativity? (KN) London has everything, it’s diverse, it’s a place of a million different styles and personalities. Diversity is all I’ve ever known and with that it’s shown me so many different creative angles. I believe diversity is the most important thing to being creative.
How did you uniquely develop your artist style? (KN) I don’t know what my style is if I’m honest, I’m still learning it now. I feel like my style changes all the time too. I see new ideas and it inspires me which then has an effect on my style.
“We just look at coins as currency and nothing more, but I’m fascinated by how money travels the world more than any other item.”
What is so special about doing work on coins? (KN) Coins started as a small side project, more of a hobby, but I quickly realised I was looking at coins as more than just a coin. I use them as a canvas to create art, but I look at them more as a piece of history that I play around with, a little bit like taking a painted canvas and spraying over it or painting something extra on to make it a new piece of art. We just look at coins as currency and nothing more because it’s a part of everyday life, but I’m fascinated by how money travels the world more than any other item, it changes hands more than any other item and it literally is what powers the planet metaphorically speaking. We’re also now coming to a stage where physical currency is dying out for the first time in centuries & becoming more digital, this makes me want to use coins as a canvas more than ever now.
Please walk through your work process? (KN) My work process always starts with design. I’ll design everything before I start to paint, draw or engrave anything. I’m a designer and an artist. Drawing, painting & engraving are just my skills so to speak.
What objects are you interested in working with? (KN) I’ve been lucky to work with a variety of objects from headphones & cars to fashion, cameras and now even fridges, so I guess no objects are off the table. Maybe glass next as I’m currently in talks with a whiskey company which is an exciting area to go into.
Most memorable collaboration? (KN) Too many to name, it’s hard to pick a favourite. I love doing collaborations with Dr Martens and G-Shock for sentimental reasons as I grew up on those brands, a G-Shock was one of my first watches, but then also the likes of Leica, Jaguar Land Rover & SMEG mean a lot to me as they are big powerhouse brands that I’ve always looked up to for the way they design & create their iconic products.
Do you remember your first pair of Dr Martin? (KN) My first pair of Dr Martens were the brown 1460 boots and they were from my parents. When I was a kid, me and my brother had matching ones.
Jaguar Land Rover is one of the quintessential brands in British culture, it must have been feeling something special to work with the brand, how did you get to work on the project? (KN) Working with Jaguar Land Rover, especially on the E-type was amazing because it’s such an iconic car. I had been speaking with them for a while about doing something a lot smaller, but when I showed design ideas for something much bigger that I had in mind, which was originally an idea for the Defender they thought the idea would lend itself well to the 60th Anniversary of the E-type and it kind of went from there.
What are you working with SMEG? (KN) The SMEG project is a global release of the iconic SMEG fridge celebrating the 100 year anniversary of 24hr Le Mans in collaboration with Hedi from The Mechanists. I’m really excited about this project because that refrigerator is truly iconic and to be allowed to access the Le Mans archives when designing this 100 year collaboration has been so cool.
If you could do work on anything, what would it be? (KN) Again that’s a hard question, how much time do you have? I’d love to design collaborations with Nike, Adidas, New Balance etc or a livery for a F1 car, perfume bottles, fashion, artwork for planes, an art car for Porsche, a motorbike collaboration of some sort, I literally could keep going!