From Frida Catlo to Pablo Picatso Exeter-based artist Niaski is responsible for creating some of the most charming and creative artwork i’ve seen in a long time. This feline aficionado designs greetings cards, prints, tote bags & cushions inspired by her 3 cats: Sampson, Salvador and Socket.
Nia first started to design professionally back in 2001 and later graduated with a First Class degree in Graphic Design from Falmouth University. Now, she’s a full-time Design Manager at a vibrant and lively arts venue and runs her own design studio out of her home in Exeter, Devon. Her popular designs have been featured on Not on the High Street and sell like hot cakes on her Etsy store.
As a bit of a crazy cat lady myself, I was keen to find out more about Nia’s work…
Can you describe the Niaski aesthetic in just 3 words?
Cats. Unique. Puns.
Who and/or what inspires you?
My cats are my inspiration behind my work and my love for the arts. I have 3 cats, and it all started when I adopted Salvador. He has markings under his nose like a moustache, so I named him after Dali and then began the series.
I love your famous cat portraits – do you have any plans to expand upon this series?
Yes. I currently have a David Hockey (Catney) and Yayoi Kusama (Catsama) pin on the way.
What has been your most popular design to date?
Frida Catlo was my first design, she started off as a tote bag design i did whilst on a screen printing workshop and the print, cards and pin followed and she is by far the one people relate to the most.
Can you name some of your favourite designers and/or brands?
I love David Shrigley, his work is funny and simplistic and I really like the way he can relate to a feeling or emotion through such witty drawings.
If your studio was on fire and you only had time to grab one thing – what would it be?
A book I made at University, its a total one off and the original digital files were lost on an old computer, the book is exploring my love of typography, something I have strayed away from since my uni days.
Have you faced any challenges pursuing a creative career?
The only challenge is working full-time as a Creative Manager for an Arts charity as well as a freelancer and pursuing Niaski as a full-time business, I need to expand soon out of my studio at home which is something I am looking forward to.
What is your favourite thing about being based in Exeter?
When the sun comes out, i can get in the car and drive 30 mins up the road and jump in the sea. The city is amazing but the countryside and the coast is what I need the most.
If you could have a cup of tea with anyone (past or present) who would it be & why?
I’d probably like a good old natter with Frida, in her wonderful garden surrounded by plants and animals.
Lastly, where’s the best place to find/buy your work?
The best place is on Etsy, this is where all my latest work goes first, but my work is for sale all over the world so whether your in New York or Sydney I bet you can find an Artist Cat somewhere.
As well as the quirky and colourful artwork you can see above – Nia also creates custom designs and prints of your beloved furry friends. So, if you fancy getting your beloved moggy immortalised you should check out her custom work.