This interview was performed in partnership with Peet’s Coffee, who is celebrating the passion that drives people like Gazin in the pursuit of their craft.

Visiting illustrator and comic guru Nick Gazin in his Greenpoint apartment is quite the experience. Obscure books, zines, and comics surround his living room walls. Action figures, records, and play sets fill other crevices, with trinkets from his travels, movie memorabilia, and junk store treasures nailed to walls as if they might come to life and start talking to you. Indoor plants line the windows of his kitchen and a teepee atop a cardboard box is carefully positioned in the north facing corner of his living room to provide a space of respite for his mischievous cat Banjo.

As an art director and illustrator at large, Gazin has become the “go to guy” for many brands, publications, and musical acts looking for a particular style of art. Psychedelic portraiture, Rock and Roll watercolors, lonely monsters, and mystical cats are a few of the areas that Gazin explores but are in no way his be all end all. While Gazin is most widely known for his work as the de facto artist for Run the Jewels (responsible for their iconic demon hands logo), his resume reads like a who’s who of the rock, punk, and hip-hop world, and he doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down. He publishes (at least) one comic a day and considers it his mission in life to bring the world of comics to a larger audience.

We recently sat down with Nick in Brooklyn to eat spinach and talk about coming up in New York City, the power of portraiture, and how he wants to meet his viewers wherever their expectations lie. Here is Nick Gazin, in his own words: