Kaye Talks to Nick Sykes

Nick Sykes, Colourist Painter: An Interview

‘It’s about loss; loss of your hopes, dreams, illusions and coming to terms with that and finding beauty in what’s left . . . ‘

Nick Sykes, 2003
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Serene and stimulating are words which immediately spring to mind when looking at the paintings of artist Nick Sykes. Nick has been painting in Liverpool since graduating from John Moore’s University. Over recent years Nick has been involved in various artist-led projects and several group shows including the Liverpool Biennial – his primary interest, however, is painting.

Kaye: You have been described before as a ‘Colourist’ whose work deals with ‘not quite abstract landscapes and experiences’. How does this fit with your own interpretation of your work?
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Nick: ‘I work with colours and composition to achieve a feeling of harmony and beauty in the painting. I chase shapes and spaces around the canvas until I have discarded and distilled the excess information, to give the painting life. They are not intended to represent a specific event or place, but to suggest’.

Kaye: The titles you give to your works are enigmatic in themselves, what is their significance?

Nick: ‘The titles are taken from things that have stayed in my mind over the years, from a question on a housing benefit form (Does anyone care for you on a regular basis?), through to song lyrics and emotions. These are attached to the paintings in the sense that they are all part of the same thing’.

Kaye: You mention loss as a dominant theme in your paintings. How is this conveyed?

Nick: ‘It’s the things that are painted out, or lost colours suggested, that matter more and make the painting work. I am not afraid of mistakes and imperfections, as it is something else to react to and keeps the dialogue going . . .’

Kaye: As a prolific painter, you have produced a large body of work over the years – do you have a favourite piece?
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Nick: My favourite painting is ‘Every Day Takes Me Further Away From You’. I think this piece contains strong colours and moods which are both powerful and evocative. It has a contemplative quality which makes sense of what my work is about’.

Kaye: Your distinctive painting style has been consistent throughout your painting career, do you envisage this changing in the future?

Nick: I think my paintings will continue to be primarily about colour, as the palette I use is carefully selected for the reactions these evoke in the viewer. My work may become less minimalist as it evolves, but as an artist you never really know until you start working on a new piece – which is exciting’.
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Nick has exhibited in London, Dublin, Munich and New York, and his work is held in various corporate and private collections, including those of fashion designer Paul Smith and chef Raymond Blanc. He has recently moved into Parr Street Studio’s, you can contact him there if you would like to see his latest work!

Kaye Kent MA

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