Nicholas “Nico” Brown, 17, of Viera has only been painting murals for the past year, but his success as a muralist has skyrocketed.

He is self-taught and has never taken an art class.

In September 2022, he was the youngest participant in the Space Coast Mural Festival in Cocoa Beach and took first place in the popular vote.

His mural of an astronaut floating in space shooting at an unknown target, with a depiction of an explosion in the background, captured people’s attention.

“I try to give my murals a story. I want to bring an air of mystery,” Brown said. “It gives the viewer something to think about.”

Brown established valuable connections at the event, including muralist Chris Maslow, who penned an article about Brown in LiveWireFL Magazine, and who has since become a mentor, according to Brown.

His mother, Mariela Brown, recognized her son’s talent at a young age.

“He was really good at being able to draw within the lines at 2 years old. At 2, kids are scribbling outside the lines. He was very particular with staying within the lines and keeping the colors separate,” Mariela Brown said.

Brown has been drawing his entire life. Yet it was during his sophomore year, during the pandemic, that he started to draw murals. During his junior year, Brown began making life-board drawings which captured the attention of the administration at Rockledge High School.

From there, Brown started painting murals for the school as well as for area businesses. An upcoming project will be painting on a ceiling, Michelangelo-style, for Urban Prime in Viera, according to Brown.

Brown will graduate this spring with a Cambridge degree from Rockledge High School, as well as an associate degree from Eastern Florida State College.

He has received several offers from Florida-based universities to study aerospace engineering. The University of Central Florida is at the top of the list.

Although Brown will focus on his studies for the next four years, he says art will be his true vocation.

“I feel like it’s my calling,” Brown said. “It is also a way for me to help pay for my college and a career in the aerospace engineering field.

“But, at the end of the day, I’m an artist. That’s who I am.”

For more information, go to @nic8b on Instagram.