"Nick lived for beauty and left a legacy to inspire..." --James CoburnProfessional Artist and Illustrator with extensive experience in publishing, fashion, advertising, television, and retail industries for over 25 years, Nick Backes was known for creating classic, realistic images for a diverse clientele. Accomplished in pencil, pastels, and oil, he was honored in the Society of Illustrators Show in New York City with work in the Society’s Thirty-First Annual of American Illustration. He had also additional experience in theater art.
“I’ve never liked my work,” Backes said. “I don’t think it’s good. I prefer other artists, and like different styles than what I do.” Despite Backes’ personal opinion, for decades the 58-year-old Oklahoma City native had made a career out of creating art for those who see his work in a much different light.
Dreamer, 24" x 18"
Professional Artist and Illustrator with extensive experience in publishing, fashion, advertising, television, and retail industries for over 25 years, Nick Backes was known for creating classic, realistic images for a diverse clientele. Accomplished in pencil, pastels, and oil, he was honored in the Society of Illustrators Show in New York City with work in the Society’s Thirty-First Annual of American Illustration. Nick was preceded in death by his beloved partner of 35 years, Ron Martin.
Thinking of You, 18" x 24"
It Was Good, 18" x 24"
The Wet Area, 18" x 21"
Cowboy, 18" x 24"
Nick Backes lived and worked in Oklahoma City, OK, and formerly was a San Francisco's resident. He attended Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA, and previously University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK. He served as Designer and Illustrator for OKLAHOMA EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION AUTHORITY (OETA) while attending Central State University on full scholarship. Backes studied art as his major, while minoring in theater. It was several years after moving out from his strict childhood home and only a couple of years after graduating from college when Backes truly found himself in the midst of a successful profession. With a confident mindset, Backes moved to San Francisco to launch what would become a whirlwind career. “I thought I may be famous,” Backes said. Within a week of job hunting and a quick skim through the phone book, Backes had an artist agent and a job with Levi Strauss.
He illustrated books for The Pleasant Company, a division of Mattel, Inc., including the art for the “Molly” books in the American Girls Collection. He also worked with Bantam Books and Dell Publishing Company.
He was commissioned by Italian couture designer, Valentino, to illustrate fashions in the 1983-1985 international advertising campaigns for HOUSE OF VALENTINO, Rome, Italy. Backes’ eyes still twinkle when thinking back to working in Italy with the famed designer. “It was thrilling to be in the Couture House with Audrey Hepburn in the next room, and to touch and feel Brooke Shields’ dress,” Backes said. “It was a whole new world; I was so innocent and had never traveled that far. But I got used to it pretty fast!”
Experiencing first-hand the damage and distress caused by the 1989 earthquake, Backes reevaluated his living conditions and decided to move back to his childhood home of Oklahoma City. “It was a traumatic experience,” Backes recollected, thinking back to the earthquake. “It’s odd to not be able to cross a bridge, or to fear going up to the 20th floor to see a dentist. I had a first aid kit and a suitcase by my bed – that’s crazy.” Moving back to Oklahoma, Backes found himself closer to family and friends, and comfortable in the familiar setting. The opportunity to continue working in theater gave Backes the ability to hone his acting skills while designing and painting sets for Carpenter Theatre. But as the years passed and new technology developed, Backes realized he must reevaluate his career as well if he wanted any kind of future in the business.
“The advent of the computer has almost erased all jobs,” Backes said. “It was an era that kind of went away.” Always ready to try something new, Backes looked at this as an opportunity to jumpstart his career and to delve into art in which he had little experience. While computers have made finding work much more difficult, Backes remained optimistic, and had turned to new challenges, including oil painting and murals.
Backes did not plan to add technology to his successful duo of pencil and/or paints and old-fashioned creative ability. “I don’t like computer art at all,” he said. “Machines and technology, I just don’t have a sense for them. I’ve worked my whole life to get where I am now, and it’s very hard to try to start a new career.”
He spent his spare time painting for art shows, a rare occasion when he can create whatever art he wants. For Backes’ latest art show, oil paintings dotted the walls, breaking away from the customary drawings that have always driven forward his career. “I liked doing oil paintings because I never do it,” Backes said. “It takes techniques I’m not used to, and it’s freer and less restricted.”
He was always be ready for a new challenge, and was almost undeniably going to conquer it. “I love what I do because I can do some things that a lot of people can’t do,” Backes said. “It’s very nice to be born with something that can make you a living, and I feel very lucky."
Original Interview: http://distinctlyoklahoma.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=299&Itemid=62
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
More Artists at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
More Real Life Romances at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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