Updated: Apr 21, 2020
April 2020 Issue- Written by resident Blaine Elizabeth Alexander
For anyone meeting Nick, they might be thrown off by his genteel and kind nature. But to me, he’s “No Fear Nick.”
Born in Greenville, SC, Nick entered the world blind and faced what might seem like insurmountable odds. But early on, he wasn’t going to settle for blind. Therapy helped him gain limited use of one eye. And once he could see, Nick appreciated his sight and studied everything in life, design, art, color, and light.
At a young age, Nick’s father, George Psillas, was transferred to Spartanburg to open a second McMahan Shoes store which he later bought and still operates from the original location, 249 E. Main Street in downtown.
Growing up, Nick had to overcome his challenges, but that didn’t slow him down. He took up photography. He graduated from Dorman High School. He earned an Associate Degree in Retail Management from Spartanburg Methodist College where he served on the yearbook staff and as Editor of the school’s newspaper, the Trailblazer.
Even without a driver’s license, Nick finds a way to get wherever he needs to go.
Through high school and college, Nick worked at Kmart eventually becoming an Assistant Manager of the Appliance Department. But something drew Nick to pursue his passion for photography and graphic design. Nick left K-Mart and attended Greenville Tech to pursue his passion. He entered and won a one-year scholarship in a competition based on a logo he designed for a South Carolina corporation.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Nick graduated with straight A’s receiving his Visual Arts Certificate. He reflects back on his professor’s comments about his photographic portfolio who said, “You’re good, and you don’t need to take photography.” But Nick insisted because he wanted to make sure he knew everything about photographing. He says, ”I loved every minute of those classes and while I was waiting on rides back to Spartanburg, I would hang out in the computer labs. I learned so much more than the average student.”
Over the years, Nick earned his stripes working as an advertising and graphic designer in daily and weekly newspapers in Spartanburg and Greenville. He worked as a graphic designer in a print and photoshop as well. He even purchased his first home in Converse Heights on Maple Street and designed all the renovations himself.
When his mother, Della Trainor, had open-heart surgery, Nick left his job in Greenville to help take care of her back in Spartanburg. After a time, Della returned to work at the Herald Journal where she was a typesetter for the Escape in the Lifestyle department. She passed away a few years later.
Nick says, “She told me, go live my life. So I sold my house and moved to Boston.” For almost eight years, Nick worked for The Bostonian Society Old State House Museum utilizing the skills he’d developed back home. “As a Museum Manager, I was responsible for staffing, merchandising and redesigning the retail interior to increase sales.” He says, “I loved every minute of it.”
Eventually, Nick helmed the renovations and upgrades in four RevolutionaryBoston™ Museum Stores at Historic Faneuil Hall and Faneuil Hall Marketplace on the Freedom Trail in Boston. Sales greatly increased in those years and Nick credits Chuck Gordon, Director of Commercial Operations at The Bostonian Society for teaching him a wealth of valuable management and retail skills.
“After a while, I felt the pull to come back to Spartanburg.” He says, “I love being back here with my own design business creating logos, ads, and catalogs. I started Sparkle City Snaps and now have art prints for sale at Market On Main downtown!”
Nick has no fear and he can do anything he sets his mind to. You can find Nick’s work at www.nicktrainor.com and www.sparklecitysnaps.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org