The Positive meets Hazel Nicholls, the artist that makes a few words worthy of a picture.
After graduating from Camberwell College of Arts, Hazel Nicholls has permeated the graphic art scene with her long-standing love of witty wordplay and delightfully optimistic aesthetics, currently exhibiting as part of the stimulating Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival at Somerset House.
Between exhibiting, screen-printing and the apparently well-loved games of ten-pin bowling, Hazel has fortuitously found a moment to chat with the Positive.
The Positive: When did you decide that producing artwork was your vocation?
Hazel Nicholls: Well, I went to Camberwell Art College, and while there I did a work experience with an incredible artist. What started off as a casual one day a week placement slowly grew into a full time paid job and I spent seven and a half years working for him. He taught me so much and it really has been the most invaluable experience so far in my life. He was and still is a huge inspiration to me.
I learnt so many practical skills including screen printing but probably the most important thing was realising that when I’m making my own work I’m happiest and there’s a sense of contentment which accompanies this. So I decided the time was right to branch out and work for myself full time. That was in January this year.
TP: Fantastic. And this quickly saw you exhibiting as part of Pick Me Up, which is a simply amazing achievement. To be part of such an electrifying array of both high-profile and newly emerging creative people. Tell me about your experience with Pick Me Up so far.
HN: I was invited to show at Pick Me Up by the brilliant Bristol-based Soma Gallery. It’s been a great opportunity to have my work seen by thousands of people and I’ve received lots of lovely feedback about my work which is always good.
It’s also been a treat to have my work shown alongside artists whose work I’ve admired for a long time like Tom Frost and Nicholas James Frith, also discovering artists I wasn’t familiar with before.
TP: What are your goals for the future, both work-wise and in life generally?
HN: Well, the dream is to continue making work! It’s simple but it really is the best feeling in the world, getting to do exactly what you want each and every day. When you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work it’s just part of your life.
However, I’m all too aware that things will all change pretty soon as I’m pregnant and our baby is due to arrive on Independence Day! I have been laughing as I think it’s an ironic due date, but I do hope to keep up working whilst the baby sleeps and when he or she is big enough I’ll take them to the print studio with me.
TP: When you create a piece of art, what is your objective or intention?
HN: I want it to provide the viewer with a sense of familiarity and calmness. My mum is incredibly talented, and one of her forte’s is needlepoint so I grew up surrounded by beautifully detailed, softly coloured cross stitched pictures which gently whispered reassuring messages. This definitely influenced me and so I think the main purpose for my work is for it to comfort others and of course myself.
To find out more about the artist, follow Hazel Nicholls on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hazelnichollsshop or Twitter at: @HazelcjNicholls, or check out her latest work and witty musings on her website: http://hazelnicholls.blogspot.co.uk/