I live in Brighton and work at the Red Herring Studios a co-op of artists based in Portslade, Brighton.  

I enjoyed a range jobs before heading for college, including gardener, boatbuilder,  joiner, set builder and commercial painter. I studied at  Norwich and Sheffield Schools of Art and the University of Brighton. This  led on to teaching undergraduate artists and theatre makers, in time becoming head of the Northbrook College department of theatre, music and visual arts, a post I left to resume painting.

My early practical experience informs  exploration of a range of materials and approaches. These in themselves become means of investigation and play. I use cold wax, oils, dry pigments and collage to build images.

My paintings lie between abstract and the figurative, drawing on landscape and still-life, dialogue with media and history. They are I hope, oblique observations on the world we live in.


These paintings represent my work from  2020 through to the present . Most are on canvas, some on paper mounted on canvas, a number of smaller works are on panel or paper. All the larger works for sale are framed simply in beechwood. My work is predominantly created in oils and cold wax but I am excited by and utilise a range of materials and mediums which are integrated into paintings in search of textures and the substance which best embody  ideas I am exploring. The source of the imagery is something of a mystery to me:  found  in, tripped over,  muddled up and  derived from objects, feelings and observations of the world,  stray writings, photographs and paintings. As my work has evolved it has moved away from but is not divorced from figuration.


Paintings and sketches created from 2020 to 2023 in a range of media; oils, acrylic, conte, charcoal, pigments and pencil……… These works are both expressions of ideas in themselves and explorations that might inform larger paintings. Sometimes they are the result of wanting to experiment with new tools, brushes or materials, returning to themes and shapes which form part of my visual vocabulary – lumps, lines, scribble events, organs, ship and house structures,  triangles, stalks, rocks, rubble,  pebbles, clouds, cliffs, horizons.


Art at 21 returns in 2024 to splendid 21 Montpelier Crescent with a great group of artists : Gary Goodman, Rebecca Angel, Sarah Michener, Lucy Bristow, Ingrid Boucher, Kate Strachan and myself -Nick Gardner.

The first Art at 21 Open House was in 2019 and brought  together a rich body of paintings, sculpture, photography, prints and cards from an exciting mix of innovative and diverse artists, drawing on a range of abstract and figurative themes.

In 2021 Art at 21 relocated for a long weekend to 1 Rigden Road,Hove  as a Brighton Open House pop-up . Shorter on time – richer in variety.

In 2022 and 2023 we, as a now established group of artists including Festival Cover Artist, Gary Goodman returned  for a hugely successful month long exhibition

Art at 21 is part of the ‘vibrant’ Seven Dials Trail.



Work made longer than a couple of years ago which still interests me as well as work that sits outside of my current thinking/practice.