Artist Spotlight


By Amy T. Granite

Drawing hearts shooting from the eyes of a classmate crush, or horns sprouting from the head of a nemesis, is what yearbooks were made for. These helpless photographs (like the face of a realtor on a bus bench) beg to be vandalized, and Nicholas McPherson is happy to pull the prank.

A graphic designer, illustrator and painter, McPherson returns to his rascally youth with “poortraits,” a series of 300-plus discarded photographs he scavenged from swap meets, eBay and junk stores, imposing his comedic, vintage-cartoon-inspired imagery.

“I like to feed off their facial expressions and what they’re holding,” says McPherson. “like this kid - he’s got his boom box and a 40-ounce beer, but the photo is from the early 1900s.”

What began as an instagram post a year ago (@nicholasdanger) has since developed into a self-published book (Family Poortraits, $60). For his solo show at North park’s visual Shop, McPherson will transform the gallery into one big scrapbook page, he says, juxtaposing family vacation photos from the 1970s with those snapped during the victorian era.

“Some of them are so old, and the people look so serious, like they had to hold still for 30 minutes while the photo was taken,” McPherson says.

There’s nothing like a trumpet, a brick of cheese and a can of beans bursting from the bent over Grandpa’s rear to lighten the mood.

“Poortraits: new works By Nicholas McPherson”
June 7, 7-10 p.m. at Visual Shop
3776 30th st., North Park