Nikolas Bryan-Dunaway is one of the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s newest artist members. He is a musician, digital artist and Industrial designer. As a musician, he has played guitar in local bands starting in the mid-2000s. More recently Nikolas has written music for, recorded and produced an album under the Band name “Vocator” with the album title “Soul Synthesis” released in 2018. It is a conceptual progressive death metal album with each song being part of story about a humanoid machine made by Artificial Intelligences and released into the world to better learn from a conquered and decaying humanity.
As a digital artist, Nikolas works mostly for his own enjoyment, creating and designing characters as representations for his Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. Which he is a life-long player of. Nikolas has reached a level of Dungeon Master. He creates intricate stories and playable characters in an incredibly artful manor. He is often inspired by mythology, sci-fi, history and folklore.
“I draw my inspiration from many different places. I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, and I watch a lot of Sci-fi, and I read/watch a lot of technical articles on various things ranging from Science to visual effects, to psychology to whatever piques my interest. I am always analyzing and attempting to understand and find the connection between things.”
Nikolas is a great fan of H.R. Giger. Having always been drawn to darker things in life while also enjoying the surrealist nature of Giger’s works. The otherworldly forms executed with great detail and precision is a huge draw to Giger’s art. More recently, Nikolas has been turned on to Zdzislaw Beksinski for similar reasons. You can see a lot of this influence in his most recent album, Vocator’s “Soul Synthesis”.
Nikolas classifies himself as primarily an Industrial Designer. Working with Club Car, he has developed products for over a decade, primarily golf car and small personal transportation vehicles. Since he began studying at the Academy of Art University, he has become more and more involved in the design and conceptualization process. Going as far as teaching his fellow co-workers basic visual art and design courses.
Industrial design is a discipline involved with designing things that people will use and get joy out of; that raise their quality of life. It is a discipline in which beautiful shapes and great ideas and are combined with technology and business to mass produce exciting products. Any car, laptop, smartphone, power tool, vase, cup, toy, piece of furniture, or any number of thousands of other products were at some point designed by an Industrial Designer. Below is one of Nikolas’ favorite conceptualized products. It is a luxury tricycle vehicle design based on the shape of a very small fish; digitally rendered.
Outside of his work as a musician and Industrial Desginer, Nikolas has been working tirelesly on creating a sculpture to hopefully be featured in Downtown Augusta. In 2016, as many locals may know, The Haunted Pillar was destroyed in a car accident. While both the driver and the passenger were able to avoid the pillar’s curse and walk away from the accident, this part of Augusta’s history and folklore was gone forever. While the pillar did once stand within the Old Lower Market back in the 1800s, little more is actually known as to why the pillar remained when the rest of the original building met its fate after a rogue tornado made its way through Downtown. In his research, Nikolas discovered the pillar has rumored ties to slavery, voodoo, and a preacher’s curse, but no solid evidence can be found, at least not so easily. Whatever it’s history, the mystery prevails and it’s a dark one.
Knowing Nikolas’ inspirations, it’s no surprise the Haunted Pillar drew him in to produce a sculptural artwork that brings this dark history to light. He also has dreams to make this end of Broad St. a tourism destination once again. Adding artwork, he believes, might be a gateway for more creative projects in the future. Nikolas is currently in the phase of surveying the community to see how they feel about an artistic interpretation of the Haunted Pillar being installed. You can find more information on his Facebook survey here.
The thought that having artwork in the public sphere will draw more artwork to the area is not a new concept. Especially as we see more and more murals and sculptures enter into Downtown Augusta. It has been a great experience seeing so much positive, visual and measurable growth in our community. One of Nikolas’ favorite public artworks is “The Big Idea” by local artist Aort Reed. Being a relatively new to the Augusta Visual Art’s scene, Nikolas loves learning about artistry through others.
“To me, I get inspired when I see abstracted pieces like this. similar to surrealist works, the controlled chaos allows my mind to roam free and speculate on what-ifs”
You can find more information on Nikolas Byran-Dunaway and his work as an artist through his social media platform on Instagram as well as Vocator’s website.