Piotr Jab?o?ski (nicponim) is an illustrator and concept artist. Having graduated from the architecture department of Bia?ystok University of Technology, he began working freelance for clients around the world, including Applibot, Wizards of the Coast, Games Workshop, Ixor, Tokkun Studio and and Platige. Piotr has also built up a cult following for his Tomcat Brothers images, which show the adventures of two space-helmeted boys who explore the world alongside a giant cartoon cat, who appears as street art on nearby buildings. We spoke to Piotr about his work, his own days in street art, and where we might see the brothers in future.
Tell us about your journey
I’ve painted for as long as I can remember. I drew on paper as a kid, then when I was a bit older, I got interested in graffiti. I sketched almost every day, searching for ideas, changing my graffiti name, tagging buildings, and trying from time to time to create something bigger – and legal – on walls. It was bad, when I look back at it now, but it made me incredibly happy.
In high school, a friend recommended that I try a tablet as a different kind of painting tool, so I started painting in Painter and Photoshop. [After I got to university] I used to browse websites to see what people were creating with [the same technology], and the images were gorgeous! It motivated me so much: to try to be better and work harder. One or two years later, I got my first job – then another, and another.
I never thought that I wanted to be a artist. I just always loved drawing and painting. It’s a huge pleasure for me to be able to do what I love and earn some money at it.
How do you want to impact the world?
I really don’t know what I want to do in future. I don’t have my dream job: I just want to be better. And when I say ‘better’, I don’t just mean at drawing or painting, but to have better ideas, to try to create something totally fresh, new and inspiring.
When I started working as a digital painter, I dreamed of working on popular movies or games, but now I’m less certain. My dream is to create some private project: maybe an art book, maybe an animation, or maybe a game. Something like a series of images from my imagination – like Tomcat [Brothers].
What are you passionate about?
Many things. Everything can be inspiration: weather, nature, walking, partying, riding in a car… I like looking at other artists’ work, particularly old masters, good photography, graphic design, furniture design, fashion and architecture. I also really like good music (not these shits that we can hear on the radio or TV), travel, sport, going to the gym, swimming, good movies, and moments with friends – and of course with my girlfriend. Sometimes people can be a seriously big inspiration!
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
It’s hard for me to give advice to anyone. Every moment teaches me something new. I’m very curious about how my work will look like in ten years. Maybe I’ll do totally something different?
But it’s certainly important to be yourself. I know that’s a cliche, but seriously: try to not copy, not to be trendy, and not to do things that you don’t really like. Get inspiration not only from the world of digital painting, but from outside it. And never try to be compared with other artists. Never. It’s a dead end.