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Jim Higgs – Issue 18

Nexus: You have a very 90s cartoon aesthetic, where does this style derive from?


Jim: When I was a kid I would draw all the time. Until I was thirteen I made these sketchbooks with weird characters, comics and bad jokes. In middle school I had this horrendous art teacher that completely put me off art and I stopped making those sketchbooks. I feel like my growth as an artist was stunted – in high school I barely picked up a pen to draw. I didn’t really make art again until I started my degree at twenty years old. I found that my drawing style hadn’t really changed from when I was thirteen, of course I got a little better at drawing hands and feet, but the essence was the same. I can draw in other styles but this will always be my default form of expression.


Nexus: How do you get around artist block? What’s your process?


Jim: The best way to deal with artist block: Don’t force yourself to make art. If I have an idea that I’m trying to get on the page and it isn’t working, it can be the most frustrating thing ever. If I force myself to make it work and it still doesn’t come together, that’s even more frustrating. So I let the idea sit in my brain for a while and let it germinate. In the meantime I might watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a podcast. The idea is still chugging away in the background. I go back to the pen and paper when I’m ready.


Nexus: What are your least favourite pieces of your art and why?


Jim: I find that my worst art comes from forcing it. Trying to get an illustration out there, simply because I haven’t posted on Instagram in a while. I rush to finish a piece before so I can post it and see a couple dozen of likes. It’s not a good way to go about making art. I find that I’m usually disappointed and regretful the next day. I wish I changed the colours or spent more time on the linework or added more layers.


Nexus: What does your art symbolise?


Jim: A while ago I would’ve said that my art is just weird cartoons and it doesn’t mean that much. But one day I had an epiphany that most of my work is related to my anxiety. I looked back at my work and I could see how each one related directly to an experience I had or a particular situation I was in. After recognising that, it became a lot easier to make art. My illustrations use a lot of phrases and words. I try to make it as broad as possible so the viewers can see multiple meanings in the piece – ideally I want them to see themselves in it. In my art I try to capture the universal anxieties of life, specifically the anxiety of becoming an adult.


Nexus: What does being an artist mean to you?


Jim: Being an artist means I have an outlet for my emotions. I think I’m a pretty unemotional person but I don’t really share my anxiety or struggles, even with close friends. I put out these weird cartoons about my anxiety, paranoia and self image issues for the world to see. Art is my expression and if I didn’t have it, I think I’d be in trouble.