Plymouth is an extremely diverse city that houses some great institutions in which to learn the arts. The one big drawback about the city is that once students have completed their course there isn’t the necessary support platform for artists to promote their work or themselves, and more often than not they move away to what is seen as more vibrant places with more opportunity.
Our vision was to have a dedicated space in Plymouth, to showcase the talent residing within the city and surrounding areas, primarily focusing on students, post graduates and emerging artists. We realised that we needed to keep more of our creative individuals here, to promote them and to raise awareness of the great talent within the city; not just for the artists themselves, but for the public and community too.
Nick’s passion for typography in all its forms and for promoting self-expression in others led him to set up and run the 'Plymouth Art Project' in Plymouth in November 2014. It was initially a street-art/public-art project to brighten up the centre of the city, something sadly lacking in Plymouth. The project expanded beyond street-art to include fine artists, illustrators, graffiti artists, sculptors and performance artists, all involved in the event and pop-up shop which was kindly donated by the council, and open throughout the event. The event generated lots of interest from the public who expressed their desire to see more events of this sort in Plymouth and who made the pop-up shop a resounding success.
The great success of 'Plymouth Art Project 2014' inspired us to want to set up a dedicated space where artists could exhibit their work, and at the same time work freely in a studio without the burden of huge fees and the stress of ‘going it alone’, where they could form part of a supportive community learning from and inspiring each other to grow and succeed.
The result is Studio 102.
Studio 102 was born in a derelict building in the historic Barbican area or Plymouth, a part of the city that is scenic, buzzing with tourists most of the year, which has been home to many artists in the past and which continues to provide a home for creative people.
Our aim was to create a space to support and engage local artists by providing cost-effective working space in a supportive, creative community whilst encouraging more to exhibit and acting as a focus for attracting a wider range of artists to Plymouth
We could not have renovated the building, set up and created studio 102 without the help and support of friends and family who have put in long hours, helping to build the gallery and studios, and enabling us to open in time to exhibit and hold shows.
Having graduated from Surrey Institute of Art & Design in 2003 with a Graphic Design Degree, Nick honed his skills in a traditional sign writing shop in Brighton, creating, producing and installing signs and vinyl graphics. This was followed by a number of years gaining experience in design companies in the UK, then led to Nick travelling and working worldwide, settling for a time in Melbourne, Australia where he produced graphics for prestigious events such as the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix.
On returning to London, Nick worked as a Project Manager for a London-based display company, before moving three years ago with his family to Plymouth in the far south-west of England in 2013. Here he established his own company ‘BigUps Signs and Graphics’, creating hand-painted signage, digitally printed graphics, wide-format graphics and vinyl cut graphics.
Nick now runs his business from Studio 102, with a small workshop and shop front selling the work of other local artists including those who have worked and shown at Studio 102.
After obtaining a Fine Art degree and an MA in Contemporary Art Practice from the University of Plymouth I felt I owed something back to Plymouth Culture and saw amazing potential for this vibrant and diverse city.
My artwork talks about relationships and roles within performance between artist, artwork, audience, participants and materials.