Before we got into asking Nick about his incredible artwork, we wanted to know a little bit about who he was.
“I am 46 years old and from Manchester, now living in Essex. I am a full-time artist but only became an artist 9 months ago. Before, my occupation was a construction manager in signals on the tube.”
From working in construction to becoming a full-time artist – two very different paths and a massive career change from a manual trade to something more creative. We wanted to know what the transition was like switching to a completely different field and if there were any similarities between the two careers:
“The transformation was tough financially (construction management was well paid) but art for me is finding the best way or inventing processes that haven’t been done before – so problem solving is what I’m good at.”
The artwork Nick creates is extremely detailed, often putting all the lyrics to a song onto the background of a musician portrait or using cassette tape to frame colours within a piece – this shows just how much of a creative mind Nick has got and how much time and effort he puts into his art. We wanted to know what the process was like in creating his artwork and how he got into the embossed and debossed style he’s known for:
“It’s something I’ve developed over ten years, trial and error, layers and layers of paint. I’ve not seen anything similar to my work. Everything I make is handmade onto canvas – I first started with pop art but tried to use different materials such as cassette tape, wire and lights. The embossed style was just another effect which has become a popular choice with clients.”
So how long does one piece of artwork take to make? Nick told us, “From start to finish probably around 30 hours.” This explains why each portrait looks so fantastic!
Nick’s portraits usually feature public figures such as musicians and athletes. Some of the musicians he’s painted include Noel Gallagher, Kurt Cobain, Prince, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Liam Gallagher and Bob Dylan. Portraits of athletes he’s completed include George Best, David Beckham, Eric Cantona and Bobby Moore. His football art is regularly a nod to his favourite club, Manchester United. We asked if the club was one of the inspirations behind his art and Nick told us “A little bit as I’m a fan – but they are popular with customers.”
We also wanted to know if his own music taste played a role in which musicians he chooses to paint. He said, “Yes, but I do like a commission of someone I’ve never done before.”
Nick’s art is extremely unique and one-of-a-kind; he switches between different styles regularly and continues to show progression through experimenting with different things. He’s created so many amazing pieces of artwork, but which is his favourite?
“The Joy Division Unknown Pleasures, it took me 10 years to work out how to do it as it involved lights.”
This piece of artwork was truly a special one! It features the rock band’s album Unknown Pleasures. The piece displays a detailed 3D design of the Joy Division album cover. This would be amazing enough, but then the video shows the painting lighting up with an LED light box to reveal an intricate design of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the famous group. This piece undoubtedly captures Nick’s creative talent and highlights how he’s not afraid to push boundaries and take risks. Watch the below video to see Nick’s creation in action!
One of the many things we love about Nick Dillon is that he tries to keep every commissioned piece as bespoke to the client as possible, meaning none of his commissioned work will be an exact copy of anything he’s done before. We asked why he felt every customer having a unique piece of artwork was so important to him:
“I like that people that don’t normally buy art, buy mine. I like the thought that they can say it’s a one off.”
We also wanted to know if any celebrities had purchased his work. Although Nick wouldn’t name drop, he did give us a little insight into the types of famous people who had bought his work – “Many premier league footballers, tennis stars and rock stars.”
So, Nick has achieved a lot over the years, but what did he think his biggest achievement was to-date and what was his favourite thing about being an artist?
“My biggest achievement is now doing what I always wanted to do – make art. The reaction I get is amazing.”
Intrigued about his next project, we asked Nick if he had someone in mind for his next portrait or someone that he really wanted to do a portrait of that he hadn’t yet:
“Not really no – but I have been experimenting with two completely new styles – which both work but are very time consuming.”
Progression and experimentation paired with hard work was a real driving force for Nick – even though his work is so highly praised and popular, he’s not settling with just one style or just one way to do a portrait.
Outside of creating his wonderful artwork, Nick has a big passion for music and he loves playing darts.
Finally, we asked Nick about craft insurance and why it was important to have, he stated “Yes, I have it, it’s required at art fairs.”
If you are interested in featuring your work at art fairs like Nick, or you’d simply like to learn more about the craft fair insurance we offer, visit our page here that tells you all about it. Be sure to contact our friendly team on 0345 456 3003 if you have any questions.
We’d like to say a big thank you to Nick Dillon for taking part! Remember to look out for our next ‘Crafter in the Spotlight’.