Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I recently seem to be favouring the more contemporary (even abstract) work. I’ve always been inspired by Kentridge, Irma Stern, Marlene Dumas, Hodgins, Penny Siopis and more recently, Mary Sibande,
Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
Irma Stern for forging the way ahead in times where being a female artist (let alone South African) would have been nigh impossible…
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I think I would like a David Hockney (one of the Californian pool series)… For its simplicity and calming presence… But these preferences change with time ?
Pick three artists who you would be honored to exhibit with – and why
(for obvious reasons in that they’re in a league of their own)
How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
I started +- 25 years ago – painting as a means of therapy – as a gift to myself – to do something solely for me. I considered studying art whilst at school but my mother, who studied commercial art at the DUT, firmly discouraged me – so maths and accountancy won the day….
What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
I’ve been exploring the men at work theme for many years. Also solitary figures simply done. I’m trying to gravitate towards the more abstract, which is proving harder than I thought. But I shall persevere….
What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
That the underlying aspect of my art is to bring peace and harmony to the viewer – and to hopefully make the viewer look at the original with new eyes…
Tell us more about your creative process.
I started as a watercolour artist so I start all artworks on a dark brown canvas. This was initially as a method to ensure I painted oil paints in a manner completely different to watercolours yet its continued for more than 15 years. I have experimented with different colour backgrounds on occasion but tend to gravitate back to the brown. I also initially try and paint as fast as possible in order to get fresh exciting strokes.
Do you believe an artist should use their platform to influence society? Why?
Absolutely. It is the role of the artist to tell a story of society in general. History is remembered by the artworks of the time.
Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
Too many to mention…
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
To be in the collection of the Durban Art Gallery
What are your aspirations for the future??
Being a self-supporting artist, I have to paint a lot of work that wouldn’t necessarily be in my repertoire. It would be wonderful one day to consistently paint exactly what I wanted to.
To have the time to experiment more.
To paint more playfully.
Learn more about Nicole in our interview and short film with the artist in studio here.