Nico is an ever-talented Gunpla builder. She loves anything plamo, gunpla, or diorama related. She won bronze in GBWC when she was eight years old and recently took on home towards the end of last year. I was excited at the opportunity to be able to interview her. She does spectacular works that are very inspiring.
You can find her featured in magazines such as Fine Scale Modelers!
Q: Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
A: I’m from the Philippines where Gunpla & Gundam has a huge following if I do say so myself. I think I’m forced to be better and push myself in everything I do because I’m surrounded by incredibly talented people. I know a ton of Filipino Modellers and Artists that are just extraordinarily good in their craft, so I’m greatly affected by how they work and think.
Q: Is there a specific environment or material that’s crucial to your work?
A: I would say that I need to have my own space/studio where I can work peacefully. Like if I move my table to another room or I work in a different house or something, I find that I can never concentrate enough to even start working. So I guess a specific environment (which is my studio area) is important for me.
Q: Who are your biggest artistic influences?
A: My Biggest influence would be my dad, it’s just inevitable. My whole life I’ve seen my dad create art, and as a daddy’s girl, I wanted to be just like him, I wanted to do everything he did and until now, my works are greatly influenced by his past works.
A very close second and third would be Uncle Kenny Lim (Toymaker) and Eric Yap (Erix93), they’re just extremely talented modelers that have made some very memorable builds.
Q: What do you listen to when working?
A: I actually never listen to anything when I’m working. My dad jokes that it’s weird but ever since, I never really felt the need to put on headphones and listen to music, podcasts, or shows. I guess I just prefer white noise over any of those.
Q: What do you want them to experience or feel when people view your art?
A: It depends mostly on what I want to express at that moment. Honestly, I feel great as long as my work was able to evoke some sort of reaction or emotion out of people. I remember feeling ecstatic when somebody said they felt despair when they saw one of my dioramas because that was what I was going for, for people to feel despair and sadness with that build.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I love making dioramas, be it for Gunpla or Fine Scale kits, so I take a lot of inspiration from things around me, old abandoned buildings, rusty cars, and rain marks on a gate are all awesome inspirations for me. And I live right outside of the city, so there’s a lot of places where I can find tons of inspiration for my next build.
Q: How do you think art is important to society?
A: I think Art is necessary and not just important. I mean society of course would survive, but I don’t think it will thrive without art.
Q: What motivates you to create? What burns you out?
A: What Greatly motivates me to create is my backlog. Kidding aside, I just love creating and getting my hands dirty, and fortunately, I’m still excited to start a new project just like when I first started in the hobby. So I guess my motivation is the excitement I feel when creating something.
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced a severe burnout that I stopped for months. But usually, I discard a project or stop building when it doesn’t make me feel happy or when I can’t do what I wanted to do, that’s why for commissions, I never accept anywhere I’m not allowed to add my own spin to it, ‘cause I know I’ll just get frustrated and not do it.
Q: How do you define success as an artist?
A: For me, if I’m able to make something that will be remembered long after I’m gone, then I’ve succeeded. That’s the greatest achievement.
Another thing would be, if you’re able to create and keep creating for as long as you can, then that’s a success.
Q: Does art help you in other areas of your life?
A: Absolutely. I think Art has been a huge help for me in terms of my social skills and confidence. I’m really shy as a kid, and I still am, but I never imagined that I would be able to show my face on camera, talk to other people, approach strangers at events, etc, and all that just because I’m passionate about what I do.
Q: How do you develop your art skills?
A. It’s really just consistency and practice and I’m fortunate enough to be able to do what I love every day; so I basically train my skills every single day.
:Q: Do you have a network of other artists, and how do they support you?
A: My main circle would be my Family. We’re all artists and we really understand each other so well, so it’s great when we can just bounce ideas and critiques off of each other.
Q: Do you have tips for other artists looking to connect with their local art scene?
A: I’m not one to go to events and meetups but it’s really the best way to connect with like-minded people. So Don’t be shy to visit art shows, events, meetups, and contests (even if you don’t join) and introduce yourself. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to interact with all kinds of artists.
Q: How has your style changed over time?
A: When I first started Gunpla, I did a whole lot of weathering, like everything from the feet up is rusted and dirty. And then, I got so impressed with super clean builds, with no weathering in sight, so for a time, I tried doing clean builds, but most recently, I’m leaning towards a customized clean build but still with some minimal paint chipping. So I’d say my style right now is in the middle.
Q: How do you plan out a project? Or do you just wing it as you go?
A: I usually just have an idea or theme in mind, it could be as abstract as wanting a blue color scheme or as specific as wanting a tsunami over a city, type of things, then the rest would just be me winging it.
Except of course for contest pieces, like my recent GBWC entry where I spent about 3 months just planning everything from the layout, the idea, the design, and the colors. But for most Builds, I do very little planning.
Q: How do you think we can encourage more girls and women to enter into our hobbies?
A: The main thing would be to just keep doing what we’re doing; To show that model kits are not just for boys and it’s for everyone. I guess just doubling down on our efforts is a good start.
I feel great when I get messages from dads of young girls saying that their daughters got their first kit after watching one of my videos or messages from the young girls themselves asking for advice and tips, so it’s just awesome to know that being a girl in the hobby has a positive effect on the people watching.
You can find more of Nico at:
What do you think? Drop a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear it.
Have a Monday everyone!
2 thoughts on “Artist Interview with Nico Suratos”
I’ve been a fan of your dad forever and it’s been really cool watching you grow into your own space as an artist. You’re getting such a good start so young, I cannot wait to see where you go from here!
To quote Palpatine “we will watch your career with great interest!”
LikeLiked by 1 person
Absolutely. I’ve followed her for some time and it’s been amazing to see her growth.