Nick White’s playful and often downright silly artwork manifests itself through multiple outputs including painting, collage, ceramics, drawing and zines. As a teacher on the BA Illustration Animation course at Kingston School of Art, Nick believes that “more creatives should be able to turn their hand to a variety of different disciplines and skills”, albeit to just expand their knowledge of the field.
Nick brings a unique visual language to each medium he uses. Describing his early work as “very dense, very busy and looking quite tight”, over the years the artist has tried to “loosen up”. “I have been trying to simplify my work”, Nick explains. “Embrace the mistakes and accidents that I enjoyed in my roughs”. It is this haphazard, slightly child-like aesthetic that gives the work its charm. His art verges on abstraction, blending it harmoniously with the figurative illustrated elements, to create intriguing pieces that leave the viewer both bemused and puzzled.
Nick’s work emphasises how text can interrupt, or influence the reading of an image. He often parallels humorous sentences with his art, that can best be read on his website or at points as a comic within the image itself. Usually, it is the shapes of the drawings that make the pieces so funny, notably when paralleled with the speech. Strange blobs or floating faces are depicted talking nonsense to each other: such as, “do you ever worry your head might fall off?” Nick’s work proves that art does not always have to be serious, sometimes it can just be about play. “Making people laugh brings me a lot of joy”, Nick tells us, and this sentiment spills into his drawings.
Heads are a repetitive motif Nick returns to within his work. “I think most people are drawn to the face, whether that’s doodling on a Post-it note or finding faces in inanimate objects”, he tells It’s Nice That. “Making heads started as a warm-up exercise; if I found myself in the studio procrastinating, I would start drawing as many as I could”. However, now he has been left with thousands of them, and the project has developed to other extremes.
Nick has also worked with the mighty Ed Cheverton to create a vast collection of collages. Over the past few years, the two artists have been posting each other the starts of collages, for the other to finish. “I think at first we both wanted the pieces to represent each of us”, Nick explains. “However, after a while, we just concentrated on making each image compositionally and found we were drawn to the more abstract pieces, where you couldn’t tell who’d done what”. Brilliantly optimistic, Nick White’s work definitely puts a smile on our faces.