One’s Senior year in college is arguably one of the most stressful times in a young adult’s life. Soon we must leave the comfy confines of the walls of our university. We must say goodbye to a life of structure where our entire days were planned out with back to back classes. Many soon to be graduates during this time must make the decision to either enter the workforce or attend grad school. Our lives will change forever once we walk across that stage.

While the pressure is certainly on, there is one art student at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago sitting in her dorm  trying to figure out the next steps. As she begins to doodle, she creates a lively hot-dog character. Arms flailing with a plastered on smile it’s not the first image you think of when you imagine a hot-dog. It was that moment when she realized that she had found her passion for cartooning. That artist is none other than Nina Palomba.


A strong fixture within the Chicago street art scene, you more than likely have come across the works of Nina at one point or another. Whether that be sitting in a West Loop restaurant or passing a mural on the street, Nina’s presence is known. In a city filled to the brim with graffiti and murals, Nina’s colorful and cheerful works of art can easily be recognized in a lineup.  She is slowly but surely transforming the art world and Chicago into her own toon town.

Drawing inspiration from comic books and cutesy cartoons like Betty Boop and Andy Panda, Nina’s works create the merge between the real world and cartoon world. As a little girl with no cable, it was the Betty Boop VHS tapes, and comic book strips that inspired this future artist to begin doodling. While not stopping her creative process, she even doodled in her math notebook having the doodles overpower the equations.


While Nina’s World is gushing with vibrant colors, this hasn’t always been the case. After dabbling in various art forms, much of her early works  strayed away from color and only featured black and white.  It took the revelation with the hot-dog sketch for Nina to learn her true passion resides in cartoon art. Shortly after this revelation during her senior year, Nina was submerged into a world of color.

After becoming welcomed with open arms to the Chicago street art scene, it was then where Nina’s sketches would make the transition from pencil to spray painted murals. From that point on, Nina’s works would receive high acclaim being placed in venues such as MoMa in New York, Coachella, and most recently Fulton Market Kitchen’s featured artist in the 5X5 Series.


Much like the euphoric happiness that Nina encounters when creating a work of art, that same feeling is how she wants the viewer to feel. As a lover of love, one can scan the paintings to see hidden hearts strategically placed in one of her works. Her work takes us back to our childhood, a time where we wake up jubilantly early on a Saturday just to get our dose of the morning cartoons.

As patrons dined at Fulton Market Kitchen, they were transported back to their happy childhoods when they watched the creative process of Nina in action. While struggling to come up with an idea for a painting, Nina’s Mom suggested to take it back to basics and just start with a sketch. What transpired was something incredibly beautiful as patrons were able to witness the complete evolution of Nina from a girl who loves to doodle to a strong colorful force to be reckoned with.

NP Photo 2

So what’s next for Nina Palomba? Expect to see the works of this budding artist transform into a clothing line. Making her vision even more robust, Nina fittingly wants to continue her message of happiness with her own line of children’s toys.

If you want to see even more of Nina’s World and see where she goes next, check out her Official Website.