Discovering and documenting Nevada beer, booze, and food

Nick Nortier, Kendall School of Art and Design student

When he was little, Nick Nortier returned bottles and cans so he could go to Argos Book Shop in Eastown, Grand Rapids.

The dimes he would get from the deposits would go straight to the discount comic books which he would draw replicas of.

Although his drawing was just a childish hobby at the time, he found out after a few drawing classes at Grand Rapids Community College that art could be his calling.

“The biggest reason I realized art could be a career is the huge positive influence it can have on society,” Nortier said. “Everything in the world is artfully designed.”

But rather than designing the coffee cup from the corner cafe, Nortier will focus on creating art for the public.

“There’s a strange feeling to art. You have high art that puts work in posh galleries that only a select part of society can see it,” Nortier said. “I want to do art that is for everybody; art that will make a positive impact on everyone who looks at it.”

In fact, he plans on joining the public art festival ArtPrize that has helped put Grand Rapids on the map, something he dreamed of when he was little.

“When I was young, I always wanted to put Grand Rapids on the map,” he said. “It was always a standard city.”

Should he win ArtPrize, or however he ends up making money, he plans on giving back to his community.

His philosophy on money is to only take as much as he needs to live the life he wants and give back to those who really need it.

“A lot of people didn’t grow up where I did and get the opportunities I did,” he said. “I was lucky, I feel as though I need to repay.”

Although he grew up in Catholic schools, from elementary school to high school, he’s not quite sure where he stands religiously.

“I’ve had my ups and downs with Christianity,” he said. “I was really into it for, then I did some research and fell out of it.”

He spent time as an atheist, but now finds himself more as agonistic.

“‘God’ exists in some form,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in the flow of life and how you just have to go with it. Things happen as they happen; there’s just a strange but beautiful connection between all that exists.”

When he looks back on his life, he just hopes he was able to live. And what represents that best is actually a bible verse, which he doesn’t “read, study nor quote,” he just stumbled upon it at his Uncle Pete’s funeral.

It’s Mark 8 | 36-27: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his.”

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