Monday, April 11, 2011

Nico Traut (Artist Spotlight)

At a recent show by InterMix Gallery / The Art of Fashion, Art-Chelsea came across an incredibly talented young gent by the name of Nico Traut.  His work shows a unique and meticulous practice that can easily induce a hypnotic effect on its viewer. Its time to take notice of this artist on the rise so A-C spent some time with Nico to chat about his background, work and influences.

If It Happens It Happens
30" x 30"
(Not for sale)

A-C: Why don't we start by learning a little about your about a little lesson in the life history of Nico Traut?

Nico: Born in Argentina at the tail end of a military dictatorship, I moved to America early in life. A couple years of schooling in the heart of it all, the Midwest, I moved to southern Puerto Rico. The next decade was spent learning to Tokyo drift and drive poorly whilst sustaining myself on a diet of rice and beans.

College brought me back to the U.S. After art school, I set out on a ruthless journey to find the American Dream… on the West Coast. Much to my relentless dismay, the Dream doesn't exist in California anymore. Where to next?

Just over a year ago, I migrated to New York City in hopes of finding what I'm looking for. I spend my time painting and doing improv comedy.

 30" x 30"

A-C: Argentina, the Midwest, Puerto Rico, Cali, NYC - damn, quite the set of environments you've lived in. Now onto the art. How'd your passion for that come about?

Nico: I was born with a 24-pack of Crayolas in my hands. The natural urge and want to create and paint came early to me. Art was the only thing I wanted to do day-in and day-out.

Art classes were a natural progression, but soon felt boxed-in painting lame-atron landscapes and dead-as-doornail still lifes. Le Boring! This started my want to branch out and experiment always; pushing myself to try new techniques and mediums for every canvas I lay my little piggy fingers on.

Post-modernism and construction-from-destruction play big roles in my art. As a perfectionist to the eleventh degree, I purposefully add a destructive element or ugly aspect to ruin the flawlessness I aim to achieve. Recently, a muse or two have been my inspiration for art.; it's a gift and a curse.

 Double Cross
20" x 24"

A-C: What/who are your artistic influences?

Nico: Artistic influences… NYC is the first poster-heavy city I've lived in. You see people ripping and cutting up posters to reveal the hidden underneath imagery… this is one of the newest developments brought onto my canvases.

Off the tippy-top of my top hat, artists who have inspired me are: FAILE, an amazingtron trio of NYC street artists; David Foldvari, Turkish-born (don't quote me on that) British illustrator; and Mr. Palacios, an x-art professor turned meth head: a combo made in Heaven to bring Hell to everyone he knows.

En La Lucha Libre!
24" x 36"

A-C: Moving away from your canvasses, you seem to extend your visual artistry to other mediums. Could you give some insight to your impressive Bellotov Cocktail series?

Nico: The Bellotov Cocktails… Start a revolution for $10. These molotov cocktails market guerrilla warfare to grandmas near and far. Actually, I wanted to trick old hags into thinking these molotov cocktails are nice, little trinkets they can put on their mantle piece next to the picture of their grandchild at Disney World. They wouldn't realize that if you fill these bad boys with a gasoline/motor oil mixture you could start a brouhaha in your cul-de-sac. Floral patterns, old photography of civil war generals, riots, firing squads, etc.: it's the knickknack that packs a hidden donkey punch. Also, my lawyer is advising me to mention that Bellotov Cocktails are made of mostly recycled material.

$10/ea. [Assorted Colors]

A-C:You also design some pretty popular rugby tees. That must have been a rush seeing Conan wear your design on 60 Minutes. Do you have any new shirts in the pipeline?

Nico: I had quite the mind explosion slash implosion when I saw Conan wearing one of my tees. Every time we hang out he brings up how much he loves the shirt. The previous statement is a falsehood.

No shirts in the pipeline right now. Sad flute. My designs keep getting cancelled at my job. Too 'urbanite' for the rugby market is the water cooler talk. Can I get fired for saying that? Mike is shaking his head 'no'.

A-C: Nico, really appreciate you taking the time to chat with Art-Chelsea. I really dig your creations and hope you can spend a lifetime dedicated to your craft.

Nico: I just want to let the audience know that this interview was dictated but not read.

Go Bold or Go Bald.

 Standard Procedures
20" x 24"
(Not for sale)

This Time Tomorrow
36" x 24"
Nico says, "Make me an offer and add 99¢"

Interested in Nico's work? Connect further with Nico by visiting and e-mailing Traut.Nico (at)

For a complete listing of galleries and exhibitions in Chelsea, visit:


  1. saw this guy for the first time at that show, one word: amazing. i haven't seen work like that in a while.

  2. If you look closely at our new urban art collection you'll see elements of design made popular by street art.