Interview with mural artist Nick Hobbs ~ part 2.

First part of this interview can be found here.
One recent piece which is sure to be enjoyed by generations is at River Beach Primary School. Measuring 4.5m by 2.5m it works to include aspects of the school’s houses as well as a sense of adventure.

“The piece for the school was colourful and interesting but came with a really tight budget. Not that I mind. It was great to be involved,” he explains. “It has more elements than most of the work I do and took 10 – 12 weeks.”

To put this into perspective – painting the macaw was a day and a half work. Which explains why it looks like it is just about to ruffle it’s feathers and let out a squawk.

There is no doubt that working on such a scale takes a monumental amount of labour.

“The materials are minimal in comparison,” Nick explains. “Usually, when it comes to costing, it is a case of ‘give me an idea of what to work for,’ as you can keep painting for ever.”

However when it comes to the larger process of completing a mural, the painting is shadowed by the planning.

“First thing is to see the space – the architectural framework. My job is to look at what’s in there, what it is used for and to consider that and my client’s preferences,” he says. “Design is everything as when it is done well the end result just fits.

“For example I was commissioned to work on an Italian inspired bathroom. The client wanted Tuscany originally but what it is used for told me it should be watery so I suggested Venice which they loved.”

Nick then translates the ideas into to-scale watercolour sketches.

“Generally you are home and dry at this point, when brush touches wall or canvas you are okay,” he adds. “The daunting bit is the pre-design but once you have the blueprint it is just a case of scaling up.”

Nick is also modest about the end result. “Detail is everything, when you work on such a large scale you absorb it on one level but then go in closer,” he explains. “It’s not fine art as you have football pitches to paint. Hopefully the detail makes it good enough to look at.” The truth is it is good enough to want to walk into and it comes as no surprise he has attracted the attention of Graham Rust, one of the most renowned living muralists, who has asked Nick to help him complete the unfinished murals in his own house.

For more information about Nick’s work please click here.


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