If you’ve been lucky enough to take a trip with “Niq with a Q” you’ve only scratched the surface. Not only is Niq an amazing raft guide, he’s an extremely talented photographer, videographer, and artist.

Niq Fishing

Niq fishing off his paddle-cat

Niq’s Intro to Whitewater

Although he grew up in South Carolina near the Chattooga River, he had never been white water rafting until he was in his 20’s. His whitewater career started after he graduated from Clemson University. A friend asked what he was going to do when he graduated, and his response was something along the lines of “not a whole lot.” Niqs friend knew that he spent most of his free time fishing, swimming, and hiking in the woods, so she got Niq a job at a local rafting outpost on the Chattooga River.

“Since my first swim at Bull Sluice Rapid, I was hook, line, and sinker,” said Niq.

Niq decided to make his way to the Pacific Northwest in 2019, when he joined the Wet Planet Team. At Wet Planet, Niq splits his time between raft guiding on the White Salmon River, and working as a whitewater photographer taking photos of Wet Planet guests at Top Drop rapid and Husum Falls. He even created this video to commemorate the 2020 season at Wet Planet!

Whitewater-inspired Art

After a few years figuring out how to sustain a seasonal lifestyle, Niq is now able to make more time for his love of the arts. He has always love to paint and draw, but struggled to sell his work. Now, Niq has made his art a more sustainable way to supplement his income in the winter months. In the 2020-2021 winter, he’s working on murals for a few breweries, and doing helmet designs for friends.

Niq Baldwin Mural

A mural of Bull Sluice Rapid on the Chattooga River, painted at a brewery in South Carolina

“Most of my work now is painting, whether acrylic or oil, it’s almost always related to nature and the outdoors, from abstract landscapes of my favorite rapids to intergalactic constellation works. Working in the outdoors is a heavy influence on my work, it’s almost impossible for it not to effect me.”

Niq Baldwin Mural

A mural of Pine Canyon in Big Bend, TX, inspired by Niq’s time raft guiding on the Rio Grande

Some of Niq’s artistic influences are Chris Dyer, Christopher Morphis, and Alex Grey. These artists have a heavy influence on his stylistic scenes, as well as involvement and inspiration from the music festival scenes.

Psychedelic Helmet Painting

This psychedelic intergalactic helmet was inspired by the music festival scene. It was actually was left in the Grand Canyon, found by a stranger, and returned to some friends, and is now believed to have magical properties.

Right now, Niq is working on murals for two breweries in upstate South Carolina – Golden Grove and the Appalachian Ale House. He’s also on the short list to paint an entire movie theatre, the Astro in Clemson, SC. Niq is also available for helmet design works all winter. To inquire about commission mural work, helmet design, or other artistic endeavors, you can reach him via Facebook.

If you’d like to join Niq for a rafting trip, you can request him for half-day or full-day trips on the White Salmon River!

Niq Guiding on the White Salmon River

Niq guiding on the White Salmon River