Interview with mural artist Nick Hobbs ~ part 1.

Life could have been very different for Barnham based mural artist Nick Hobbs.

Having already discovered an economics degree wasn’t for him, he was sat at home when an article in the Sunday Times caught his eye.

“It had pages of mural artists,” he recalls. “It was a real light bulb moment. Without it who knows where things would have ended up.”
The economy’s loss is clearly arts gain as Nick now uses his paintbrush like a magic wand – transforming ordinary spaces into places which will make your jaw-drop.

“Thankfully the mathematical, mental side of economics are skills which work brilliantly for painting murals,” Nick explains.

Completely self taught, and with no no formal qualifications other than O and A Levels it is clear Nick has more than his fair share of natural talent.

“I met Guy Marciandi, a muralist from Horsham, when I was 25 and worked alongside him almost like an apprentice for five years,” he says. “There are a lot of courses but I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”

So what would his advice be to others?

“Try to get as much experience as possible, either by not charging much or painting for free – it all helps build a portfolio,” he replies. “Make yourself as amiable as possible, there are mundane things that need doing like taping. Approach restaurants and ask if you can paint something on their walls. It’s all about getting the ball rolling. Exposure and publicity are key, as is word of mouth. And being self employed means you need business skills. It’s no good being shy as no-one will see your work.”

From painting pub signs in Bognor Regis to working in Caroline Webb’s furniture shop in Arundel Nick is proof his advice is right.

Learning how to marble and wood grain might seem like a side-step but it got him into the right circles and houses where he soon found mural work.

The artform has historic and prestigious foundations with most murals you see in places like Petworth House having been painted in the 16th or 17th century.

And while the attention to detail than Nick puts into his paintings strongly places his work into the traditional genre he gives it a modern twist. For instance some of his commissions have included a Italian Job room with the iconic trio of Mini cars crashing through the walls to a Goodwood creation which even has the Red Arrows flying overhead. One thing Nick would love to paint, and hasn’t yet, is an Egyptian mural. Plus he would love to do more in Sussex as most of his work sees him travel to Surrey, or even abroad to decorate the holiday home of clients.

“Art is a funny thing as it is inspired by what is gone before,” he agrees. “I like to think what I do has a fresh feel but also keeps the sense of longevity. After all it can be there until the wall falls down.”

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Interview with mural artist Nick Hobbs ~ part 2. « writestitchup

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