Hello again and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs Blog. This week I’m pausing my blog post series on How to Develop a Conqueror’s Mindset as an Artist for this month’s Artist Interview. My interview this month is with Townsville based Artist, Nick Hoops.
I had the pleasure of meeting Nick earlier this year at Cardwell Seafest. Nick had travelled up to Cardwell to sell his art at the festival and his site caught my eye big time! Nick’s work is so colourful and the patterns he uses in his work are absolutely mesmerising. I loved the “outside” element to his work as well, the concept of creating art to hang outside had me enthralled. Needless to say, we struck up a conversation and the rest, as they say is history.
Here’s my Artist Interview with Nick.
Firstly, I would like to thank Chrissie for this opportunity to be interviewed. I am humbled that she has seen a quality in my work that sparked interest, and I appreciate the positive feedback she have given me since we met earlier this year.
Welcome Nick, tell me a bit about your background and how you got into this style of art?
My background… That is such an enormous question.
My first response; I can say it has definitely been as colourful as some of the paint I have been lathering on canvas recently. As an individual, I think your background is defined by key moments in your life; personal situations, locations, family, success and loss just to name a few. I completed year 12 in NSW in 1990 with a HSC result that reflected the effort that I had put toward my studies. As a result I commenced a 4 year Nursery/Parks and Gardens apprenticeship. It took me 5 years to complete!!! After that, I flittered between jobs in Sydney, Perth, the Kimberley and south Western Australia making many poor life choices along the way. In 2001, after a long period of self reflection I enlisted into the Australian Army (a good life choice), where I continue to serve today in a senior management role.
Looking back over the years, art was always in my life in one form or another. Drawing pen designs on my jeans or school folders during lessons started my ‘doodling’ creations. In 2008 I was included in an ‘unearthed’ exhibition in which I had several ink and pastel designs on display.
I have always been drawn to blue spirals. They are very prominent in a lot of my designs. It is written that “ancient Celtic artists used the spiral symbol as a mind-altering creative process in which the act of creating a spiral in their work released their minds into a creative splendour”. Not being Celtic I cannot confirm this theory, however I can relate to the spiritual characteristics of development, balance, surrender, holistic growth, progress and heightened awareness that exist within the spiral.
My life has been one of chaotic serenity and seemingly just out of reach of complete spiritual fulfillment and mindfulness. I now know that when I paint it’s my release, my escape and my arrival.
Where are you located and what sorts of things in your area inspire your art?
I currently reside in Townsville, Australia, having been posted here with the Army in 2014. Fortunately, my Army career has afforded me the opportunity to see a vast amount of Australia and several locations around the world; some more extreme than others. The amazing colours of the North Queensland Ocean, dense greens of the rainforest, striking red desert sands of Woomera, gorges and rock formations in the Kimberley and the snow covered mountains in Afghanistan attribute to my love of colour through nature.
However, the most idyllic place I recommend to inspire any artist, author or songwriter is a tranquil little village called Sidemen in NE Bali. I have spent many hours, during numerous visits, sitting alone surrounded by lush green rice fields – shadowed by Mt Agung- in complete awe of the regions beauty. Creative mindset rejuvenation and inspirational overload!!!.
I also have a passion for QLD Boulder Opal. The colours and colour play in each individual piece are sensational. Every viewing angle exposes a new brilliant flash of hydrated silica, embedded in ironstone and created over millions of years. I shape and polish all my boulder opal by hand with sandpaper. A slow process, yet a very calming and appropriate way to bring a multi-million year lifecycle to the fore.
You have developed a unique style to your work, what would you say is your favourite piece?
At the moment it has to be the Orange Lion (above) closely followed by Blue and Purple Swirl (below). These were my first two attempts at a large canvas. I had never painted on canvas until February this year and I love it. I am still learning with every new canvas and I am just enjoying the experience of mixing new mediums to see where they end up. I am also quite attached to my jellyfish series. There will be more of them to come.
I’d also like to share this piece called ‘Canberra’. This was a result of 44 days at sea on HMAS Canberra mesmerised daily by the texture and colours of the Coral Sea. Watching it every day and waiting so long to be able to paint it was a lesson in patience for me!!
This green one is titled ‘Ebogreen’. It’s a commission nearing completion for a client working in North WA.
And lastly “Blue Temper” this one started out whilst I was in a bad mood. Whilst it was helpful in calming my mind it certainly shows some angry influence in the form of quite an aggressive face!!
Paints, chalks, inks … what are your favourite tools for creating?
Six months ago it was spray-paint on glass. Now it’s spray paint and acrylics on canvas. I enjoy the effect of spray-paint on corrugated iron. I love my white pen that I use to highlight all mediums, and to be honest a lot of the time I just use my finger to spread paint around the canvas.
Using old casement windows – spray painted from the rear – gives a beautiful new look to a recycled Queenslander window. The window frames alone, sanded down and stained frame a piece of corrugated iron perfectly.
What would you say has been the most difficult aspect in being consistent with your art and how do you handle this?
Is there consistency in my art? Perhaps, a consistency of evolution. A consistency of loving colour. A consistency of meticulous self discipline to perfect a line or brush stroke that will most likely never be viewed as an individual line or brushstroke. I believe consistency impedes development. To remain consistent is to literally paint yourself into a corner and become stagnant.
Inconsistency brings change and development. It’s the discipline of remaining inconsistent that I believe is the most difficult aspect for the creative mind.
Oh, and consistently being able to afford a new roll of canvas. That’s a challenge all on its own.
Do you have one tip you can share with us for combating artists block?
I find it quite difficult to self-identify as an artist, having no formal artistic qualification and limited exposure in the artistic community. I am someone who enjoys putting paint on canvas who appreciates the beauty of colour and nature. I feel lucky to be able to express myself through these outlets.
As a ‘developing creator of art’ I have yet to be struck with artists block. I can imagine it would be very confronting to the creative mind, and a mental entrapment of sorts.
I can only assume spending time in a personal favourite space like Sidemen or appreciating the colours of my favourite Boulder Opal pieces would get my creative mind on track.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Absolutely more colour on canvas and chaotic serenity!!!! I am going to continue with the Orange Lion style for a little while. Every time I look at it, it views differently, like-wise with Blue and Purple Swirl. They both just keep exposing more detail and expression from different angles and varying light conditions. My intention is to keep my art as individual as I can by making every work an original. I paint because I enjoy the feeling of release through creation. I am not chasing fortune or fame and I am always attune to positive and negative feedback about my art. Every individual views art through different eyes and experience. This is what makes it so uniquely personal.
I have a couple of concepts I would also like to develop. If anyone reading this wants to help, please let me know.
The first one is bringing art to the local suburban community by holding ‘shared’ pop up home gallery exhibitions. I held one at my home in early May, unfortunately nobody attended but it hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for the concept. Imagine a relaxed and inviting environment, a BYO cappuccino and the opportunity to appreciate some local art for an hour on a Saturday afternoon.
The second concept I have been thinking about is an art share program amongst other ‘developing creators of art’ within the Townsville area. Swapping art on a short term arrangement to display in your home or workplace is an ideal avenue to gain more exposure to a wider audience.
And lastly, tell us all the places where we can find you online…
As I type this I am 10 days into a 42 day sea embarkation on HMAS Canberra. I am very much looking forward to getting home and getting paint on canvas
In the meantime you can find me on Instagram @art_by_nickhoops and possibly a website in the near future.
Ok, so that’s a wrap from Nick.
Ever since I met Nick I have been so inspired by his exhuberance for art. He is so fired up, he fires me up!! I know you know what I mean… You know when you’ve been at something for a while and someone comes along who’s fresh and new, they’re full of enthusiasm and ready to take on the world. They are bursting with ideas and because of their excitement, you get excited. Nick is exactly that!!
And man, do we need artists like that at the moment! I have talked to so many artists who feel thwarted by technology. They know they need to get their work out there, but because they’re not confident with technology, they take on this spirit of defeat.
No where in Nick’s Interview does he focus on what he can’t do. Nick has admitted he finds it difficult to self-identify as an artist, but instead he knows he has a passion for putting paint on canvas, for colour and beauty. This is what’s drives his creativity and he is so eager to keep exploring it. Any limitation he might feel is overcome by the passion he has for creating.
There’s a verse in Philippians 4:8 that says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” How important it is for us as artists to focus on what is true, honourable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Focusing on your limitations and inadequacies will only lead to more limitations and more inadequacy.
Van Gogh said it this way, “if you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
Nick’s enthusiasm for art spills over into all areas of his creation, he is fired up to try new things, he grabs the proverbial bull by the horns and gets into it. I’m just about 100% certain that Nick has mastered how to silence the voice that says “you cannot”.
Question is, have you? Do you let that voice decide what you can and can’t do, or do you silence it? What are you focusing on? Are you focusing on your limitations and inadequacies as an artist or are you focused on what you you’re going to create next? I hope Nick’s enthusiasm for art has inspired you just as he inspired me. In the meantime, let me tell you a little secret…. if you want the heads up on things before the rest of the world, if you’re after the latest news, shop discounts and the odd freebie or two, you’ve gotta sign up to my email list. It’s the monthly email you don’t want to miss.
Until next week, connect with the Creator. Let Him inspire you, his magnificence and beauty is everywhere, even in art and craft.