OVER a year after uniting Trinidad and Tobago nationals around the world with his work on a Google doodle celebrating the steelpan, and after a decade of being a professional artist, Nicholas Huggins is hosting his first solo exhibition – Up To Now.
Mainly known for his digital art, the 33-year-old hopes to showcase all the different forms of art he is capable of creating.
Huggins is the founder of local business Backyard Design Co. He and his team have designed labels for popular local products including Bertie's Pepper Sauce, Munch Kings Ice Cream and Nariel Cooking Oil, among others. He has also worked for the likes of Kes the Band, Angostura, McDonald's, Digicel, bmobile, Hadco and a host of other companies.
In addition, he has created murals at C3 Centre, East Gates Mall, Phase II Pan Groove panyard and the Queen's Park Oval.
However, he is most popularly known for Google doodles' July 26, 2022 feature – an animated video about the steelpan.
Google had said it was “celebrating TT’s national instrument and the history behind it,” as it was the 71st anniversary of the Trinidad All-Steel Pan Percussion Orchestra’s performance at the Festival of Britain.
Huggins, along with 3D artist and motion designer Mick Seegobin, jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles and founder of the Phase II Pan Groove, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, worked together on it.
Huggins told Newsday after that achievement, more people began showing interest in his work.
"I think that as a designer, as an artist, as a creator, the more you work with bigger clients, the more people come to you.
"Exactly one month after, Mick (Seegobin) and I worked on an animation for Republic Bank for Independence Day, and that was just one of the first of many opportunities."
What sets him apart from other artists, he said, is that he tries to be as versatile as possible.
Huggins has a bachelor's degree in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, US.
It was only recently when a friend reminded him he graduated a decade ago that it hit him, "I haven't had a solo show up to now."
The name of his exhibition stemmed directly from that thought, and he told Newsday it can have two meanings: "No solo show up to now, but also, here is all that I've been working on up to now."
The exhibition will be held at the Art Society, Port of Spain from December 19-23.
It will be open to the public from 5-8pm on December 19, then 12-6pm every other day.
Visitors can expect to see prints of his digital pieces and paintings, as well as charcoal and ink drawings.
He added that it will also include some of the earlier sketches he did for the Google doodle that "no one has really seen.
"It's really going to be an all-encompassing view of my work that I think is my best work in the last ten years."
While creating art for clients is his "bread and butter," he ensures he makes time to create what he wants as well.
"That keeps my work fresh and is a really good way for clients to see what they could also have.
"Come see what my passions are, what I like to illustrate, paint and draw. I want people to see a wide range of work coming from me and my studio."
And generally, he said, feedback on his art has been very positive over the years, which he credits to its being "very Caribbean.
"I try to illustrate a lot of things people in TT would recognise, whether it's fruit stands, old houses, aspects of Carnival...When people are able to see themselves and see their surroundings, I think that's what makes the difference."
He said organising the exhibition is a lot of hard work, but he is very excited about it.