An Inside Conversation with Nessacreep


Vanessa Rishel, otherwise known as the illustrious, Nessacreep, is many things: 1) a supremely talented artist capable of creating poignant and striking pieces of work 2) unafraid of experimentation and mastering all mediums 3) hilarious. That's why it was my pleasure to get a quick interview with the artist herself and get a fascinating look inside the mind of the talent.

You can also catch Nessacreep's work live at our Art & Rec event this Thursday. 

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Can you explain the origins behind the name Nessacreep?

My original Instagram handle was @iamerect so that naturally had to go. The initials of my last names are C and R so @NessaCR was my go to, but that username was taken and I was also in the midst of a pretty gnarly Radiohead phase, so @NessaCreep was born. It suits the style of my art and sometimes I watch people sleep, so I suppose it's a decent and accurate handle.

How did you get your start in illustration and when did you decide to really take it serious?

Growing up I was always doodling. As a kid I even won 3rd place in a school drawing contest and stayed feeling myself ever after. (For those who are curious, I drew a reindeer in a Santa hat). However, it wasn't until taking an art appreciation class in high school and being exposed to my creative idols that I really started to explore and love art. I refined my artistic style a couple years into college, decided no other career path sounded fun to me and accepted the fact that I'ma live of Taco Bell and 7/11 hot dogs for the next decade or so.

What inspired you to take your cartoons into such a large scale?

I think seeing a doodle ten times the size it should normally be has a really striking effect, but basically I was doing my illustrations and paintings in two very different styles for a while. My illustrations were, of course, very minimal and sketchy whereas my paintings were more traditional and realistic since I had gotten started with oils. I felt my paintings were too boring compared to my sketches, but still loved the process and attention that paintings demand so I combined them.

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Who would you cite as your creative influence?

When I stumbled upon the fucking epic cartoonist that is Robert Crumb, my life was forever changed. From then on my style was heavily influenced by alternative comics. Not too long after, I started working at a skate shop and was surrounded by a lot of low brow art and design. That culture definitely played a role in what I felt was cool to create. The tattoo artist, seanfromtexas affected the content of my works too. His use of wordplay opened my mind to more playful and dark subject matter. I'd also like to cite the musical artists that I listen to as creative influences. Half of the time, the imagery provoked by lyrics and poetry inspire a drawing, so for that I am thankful.

Is there any particular page of a graphic novel or piece of a comic that has really stuck with you?

Robert Crumb's "Burned Out" and The East Village Other cover from Feb. 11, 1970. Better than the Mona Lisa.

What's the most memorable experience you've had as an artist, whether here in San Diego or beyond?

The Olive Garden hostess looking at me disapprovingly as I steal the crayons that are intended for rowdy children. But also Weird Hues: Standard 001 was one of my favorite and most memorable experiences. The work involved in painting the mural for that show spanned a couple of weeks and the process full of hiccups which only made it that much more interesting. Being that warehouse and watching other artists from all different mediums set up and work on their pieces was beautiful.

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What do you see as the next step for you and your work?

I expect to start experimenting with color a bit more soon, but I'm most excited to be stepping into claymation. Three dimensional art isn't what I'm used to and stop motion animation is no easy task, but I want to bring my characters to life and incorporate storylines in a way to further push the ideas behind my work.

Pick one: Scene era or Crunk era.

raWrr xd, no question.

Save Ellie from Up or Marley from Marley and Me?

Can I just sacrifice my life for the both and call it a night? Ellie, she deserved to see South America, dammit.

Fighting Kimbo Slice barehands or knife fight with Harambe?

Yo, I'd rather get my ass beat senselessly than stab the beautiful angel that is Harambe. Rest easy, my sweet prince.