On the Cover: An interview with Erminio from Big Nazo

Erminio Pinque: the creator of extraterrestrial creature phenomenon Big Nazo, our comics editor, and nuanced pad and pencil enthusiast spoke with me about his design for this Motif’s cover.

“Since it sure doesn’t seem like spring yet, but hints of it, the idea is to depict the mindset most of us are in, which is hibernation states — still cuddled up in the cave of winter, but dreaming of spring to come. The idea of the hibernating bear in its cave with its headphones on and tuned in, phone to turntable, old school and new school music, listening.” Pinque laughs, “just imagine the songs of a frog and a bunch of birds. I wanted to represent cold, cooler, dark pigments juxtaposed with some light springtime warmth.”

Pinque is a deconstructionist, a pusher-of-envelopes, he bounces between mediums to solve abstraction challenges. “A cover assignment is very different than what I do in a comic panel. A cover assignment is an artistic solution to a problem or challenge. The challenge is that you’re given an abstract concept, like how do you represent music or spring? In this case I choose a drama that I cast with my own characters that can help make a story. A comic panel is a window to do anything we want, everybody is their own writer, editor, director, conceptual artist.”

Our comic pages are where Pinque’s passion lies, “The comics page is such an important feature to the magazine. Individuals are expressing something completely unique, I encourage someone to open it up and see what is happening there. Held in the audience members hands, that is what is unique about the Motif. It supports artists and lets them be seen for free. It is a printed page that celebrates a smattering of RI artists.”

When asked which cover character Pinque relates with the most (hibernating bear or tune-janglin’ frog), he laughed “am I projecting myself in one of these characters or all of it? Very interesting. I don’t know the answer yet.”

What Pinque does know is that spring in Providence is something you don’t want to miss. “Things look even prettier. There is something to be said about hunkering down for the winter, it makes you give attention to other things. Rediscover the city you live in by doing the slow-mo of walking through it, just getting on a bike to rediscover the nooks and crannies that make it special.” 

Photo taken by Rafael Medina, features Pique in front of own mural for the Avenue Concept. You can find Pinque at his Instagram, @miniomindwarp.

On the Cover: Nick Marshall

The cover artist for our health issue is automotive mechanic and part-time welder Nick Marshall. Marshall chose smooth pulleys and gears with teeth to show the complexities in our brain. He says, “I used all different materials to show how complex the human brain is and show so much happening inside it, so much still learning.”

The piece took the better part of a day to make, with Marshall using gears from a box that had been sitting around for two years. Marshall, who has been a mechanic for around 10 years, does not classify his makings as art per se, but as constructively useful creations. Pinterest helped inspire him to take unused parts lying around his work and scrap yards and repurpose it.

Giving parts a second chance to be useful is a main reason Marshall loves creating so much. He says, “Giving an old engine or car part a new life, instead of it getting thrown to a junkyard, is very gratifying. I don’t hold onto everything but I hold onto anything I think could be made into something else or given another life.”

According to Marshall, tools hold a lot of memories, as he recounts fond moments spent with his grandfather working on projects growing up. This lends inspiration for some of the pieces he makes today. While taking commissions only sporadically, one of his favorite types of commission is when a customer comes to him with tools of a recently deceased family member. Marshall will take the tools and create a lasting creation for the family to remember their relative by.

Marshall does sporadic commissions and occasional maker’s markets. Reach out to Marshall on his Instagram @nicks_knacks_ne to see previous projects or to get an upcycled piece of your own!