Q&A: Niko Stumpo

Joe Russ talks to the prolific Niko Stumpo, aka Abnormal Behavior Child, about his characters, fish-like lips, skateboarding and Hanazuki, his new hybrid studio space and shop.

Computer Arts: Where did the name of your alter ego come from?

Niko Stumpo: It came about when I first started to work online. I had a page on the site of the advertising agency I worked for, which I named /abc.html. Because of the style of work I was displaying, Rasmus Blaesbjerg (www.slrp.com) suggested Abnormal Behavior Child as a name and I loved it. It allows me to be completely free and to misbehave in terms of creativity.

CA: Your work often features similar characters, with big, fish-like lips. How did you develop that style?

NS: It just developed by itself. I have been drawing since I was a little kid and have always tried to draw with my own style - I have never been good at copying or replicating existing work. Years ago I was into drawing characters with strong noses, and subsequently I moved on to lips. I think that different parts of the body create different feelings.

CA: Tell us about Hanazuki. Is it a shop or a studio? How does it work?

NS: Hanazuki is both - a studio and a shop. I have been working all over in the last few years, for different clients and agencies, which gave me the opportunity to get in contact with amazing people. I have always tried to combine the commercial side and the personal side of my work, but didn't get the opportunity until last year, when I decided to open my own place.

CA: So what's on offer?

NS: I have developed my own clothing brand called Aiko, which I launched because I was saturated with 'digital' work. I found it difficult to sell these products in shops because I was competing with bigger brands. With Hanazuki we can work as a creative studio, and design projects for international clients, such as Nokia, MTV, The Box and EA Games. This allows us to reinvest the money into the shop, helping other artists to produce and sell their art, and to support projects that spread creativity.

CA: You were in the Concrete to Canvas skateboard book. Are you still skating?

NS: I have been skateboarding since I was 12 years old. I am just one of the many creatives that base their roots in skateboarding. I totally agree with the theory that in the past the skateboarding world has been one step ahead of any other youth movement. It is one of the most creative environments there is.

CA: Your work seems to span almost every media from motion graphics to toys. How do you manage your projects?

NS: It doesn't really matter in which media you work, it's all about ideas and concepts. I choose which media to use based on the project itself. Every time I do something for one project it will then inspire me to work on the next one. It's like one big idea, with lots of ramifications.

INFO To see more of Niko Stumpo's work, visit www.abnormalbehaviorchild.com. Hanazuki can be found at Vijzelstraat 87, 1017HG, Amsterdam. Find out more at visit.hanazuki.com.