Athletes who play at the collegiate or professional level understand their window for playing will close one day. Sometimes after an athlete’s career, the individual has trouble trying to figure out what’s next. Nick Henry, artist and founder of the website kngovkngs.com, was one of those individuals.
In 2013, Henry graduated from Florida Atlantic University with his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. After college, the former defensive and offensive lineman took a job as a marketing project manager for an e-commerce platform. With an associate’s degree in business administration and management, he figured the job was ideal for him (Henry got his AS while playing for Ellsworth Community College with his twin brother Ricaldo Henry).
However, after two and a half years into the job, something affected his drive to want to go to work — painting. Henry would paint at night until six in the morning and then get ready for his job. Which he had to reach by nine a.m. With less than three hours of sleep, the 6’4 project manager would hide in his job’s game room just to get an hour of sleep.
“It was so bad – at the office there was a game room of sort with a little couch and beanbag and I used to sleep there every day,” said Henry. “I used to get away and hide and probably sleep like for an hour. Every day at work!”
The urge to paint was not a habit developed over night. As a child, the Jamaican native loved art. During an interview, Henry reflected on the time he won a Broward County art contest as a youth:
“I won a drawing contest when I was six years old. In Broward County, there was a D.A.R.E Say No to Drugs drawing contest which I came in first place. My picture was hung up in the City Hall for display. I’ve been doing this my whole life. Always loved art. Always did it.”
Eventually the “all-nighters” caught up to Henry. At work, he fell behind on tasks he needed to do. He became frustrated because he was physically at work, but he had already checked out mentally. After months of battling with himself and other people, Henry quit his job.
“Man, so many people were telling me no — don’t make this decision, don’t make this decision, don’t make this decision,” said Henry.
This upcoming August will make it a year since Henry quit his job. When asked if he regrets the decision he made, Henry responded: “Naw, I don’t regret it at all … .” Now with a flexible schedule, he uses all his time to paint and create.
From elementary to college, Henry can remember drawing in sketchbooks that he owned. The sketchbooks contained drawings of sneakers, shirts, jackets, and ideas for different clothing lines.
Since then, the artist has combined his skills with his admiration for fashion to create custom made jackets that he sells on his website, kngovkngs.com. After testing some things out in December 2016, Henry decided to sell his jackets this past January. Within four months, “KNGOVKNGS sold over 40 jackets.”
On his website, Henry offers nine different jackets. Of the nine, three are already sold out.
Initially, Henry had difficulty selling his jackets and at times he got discouraged. Although things were going slow, he kept faith in himself and kept on creating them. Then, around Black History Month (February) Henry’s jackets started to get a lot of attention. Several of his jackets share messages that represent peace, love, unity, and black awareness. By March, Henry was doing jackets based on commission.
“Now I’m at the point that if I do a jacket it just sells itself,” said Henry. “I don’t necessarily have to push to sell it as much … .”
In addition to the increase of sales, several notable public figures took notice of Henry’s jackets. Earlier this year, Henry met CNN Commentator Angela Rye and was able to give her one of his jackets. He was also given the opportunity to give her a jacket for Charlamagne tha God. Eventually, Henry and Charlamagne met and they exchanged their contact information. Reflecting on the encounter, Henry stated:
“I met Charlamagne actually down here and when I met him he told me he got the jacket. Which was huge. He said he loved the jacket and he gave me his contact – which I’m going to send him some more stuff too.”
Henry also came in to contact with Logan Browning, actress and star of Dear White People. He plans to send her gear as well.
Although Henry creates jackets, the jackets are just one aspect of what he does. Henry is in the process of painting several canvases for a solo show he plans on having at the end of this year.
“Sometimes I don’t even consider myself as an artist – I consider myself as a creator. I like creating, period!” – Nick Henry
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