Extended Bio and Photos

Nik Schulz was born in Germany in 1969. His family immigrated to the United States a few months later. He’s loved cars since before he knew what they were. 

He lives and works near the Russian River in Sonoma County, California.

Car Memories

One of his earliest memories: a roll-up door in the center console of his dad’s green 1968 Mercury Cougar. It enclosed a storage compartment and when rolled up, the door completely disappeared. He found it fascinating. But then again he was three. 

Vacations back to Germany provided fond car memories. In one of his earliest, he recalls sharing the passenger seat of bright, yellow Porsche 914 with his younger sister as a great uncle took them for a thrilling, screamy ride around the twisting streets north of Stuttgart. 

As teenage exchange student he saw a new, red Ferrari 288 GTO on the streets of West Berlin and his brain nearly melted.

Breaking into the Nürburg

As a college student on a German summer internship, he and a fellow intern broke into the castle at the Nürburgring, the actual Nürburg. Well… they had gotten there literally 20 seconds after the castle had closed and, rules being rules, the guard wouldn’t let them in. Miffed, they waited outside until everyone had gone and scaled the castle wall, all two stories of it. They ran around the parapets until they got bored, and left.

Industrial Design Background

He studied Industrial Design at Cal. State Long Beach, where he learned the language of form. It took him seven years to get through. His parents asked if he was going for a PhD.

While in college he had the opportunity to buy a mint, mechanic-owned Audi 4000 CS Quattro but he negotiated too hard and flubbed the deal. To make up for it he bought a sweet, black, twin-turbo Audi S4 wagon years later. 

Current Editorial Work

He’s worked as a professional illustrator since the early 2000s for magazines like Wired, Fortune, Make, ESPN, Road & Track. He specializes in a clean, design-influenced style, that often explains difficult-to-understand topics like same day shipping, or why we extract more and more material from the earth even as we make everything smaller, cheaper, and lighter.

Floating Creative Studio

In 2013 he and his then girlfriend bought a sailboat and spent five months working and sailing around the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan and Gulf Islands. In their dinghy, just off the tiny island of Wallace, they got engaged. 

Off-road Adventure

These days his taste in cars leans towards the terrain-capable. He drives a 1995 Mitsubishi Montero with an upgraded suspension, locking differentials, and Safari snorkel, which he and his wife like to take on adventures in the Sierras. 

Why I draw cars

I draw cars because it makes me really happy. I like vintage ones. I like slightly obscure ones. I like to distill their forms down to the purest state, to create these almost ideal images. I suppose that when I draw, I seek perfection. These illustrations are as close as I can get. 

By sharing them, I hope pass that attainable perfection, that joy, on to others.

 

Nik in the summer of 1972 with the pedal car his grandparents brought him from Germany.

 

Nik in the summer of 2013 on Jones Island, Washington, while sailing in the Pacific Northwest.