Penguins. Fascinated over by David Attenborough, often found hilariously slipping and sliding on icebergs on YouTube and even have a c-c-c-c-c-chocolate bar named after them. So proving their popularity and cementing their inclusion in our psyche. And now, thanks to acclaimed contemporary fine artist, Nicola Read, you can have one to fill your home with. Well, in two-dimensional form anyway, care of Read’s fandabidozipenguin compositions. Penguin and ‘other predominantly aquatic friends’ we hasten to add, including fish a lot of the time. Leaving Read’s fish to one side (although never for long on account of their equally amazing visual pronunciation), the artist’s penguin paintings are illustratively stunning and stridently captured, as is her signature pictorial documentation, with ‘Beak to Beak’ and ‘On the March’ being two particularly impressive pieces that readily catch the eye amongst Read’s back catalogue.
Now a resident of Derbyshire, found in England’s beautiful Peak District, Read was actually born many thousands of miles from there; some would suggest a world apart; Hong Kong as it were, and lived in Cyprus, Nottingham, Leicestershire and Gloucestershire before eventually deciding on Derbyshire. Read was actively encouraged from day one to paint and explore her creativity by her parents, both of whom were artists themselves, and Read fervently believes that is was her family whom were ultimately responsible for her career in the art world, stating: “My whole family is very artistic and creative, from oils and watercolours through to sculpture and modelling and they have provided firm support and encouragement for the development of my paintings”. Creatively thwarted at secondary school, Read finally found her artistic mojo at college, where she studied photography. To this day, it was thanks to her photographical roots put down during this initial period, which paved the way for Read’s developing of a keen eye for what she refers to as naturally occurring and geometric shapes; both of which form the bedrock to her visual pieces which have followed since.
After college, the creative industry beckoned for Read, as she went on to take up various posts in separate departments over the next few years, including stints in PR, Marketing, Advertising and Graphic Design, affording her a broad grounding and commercial awareness in what are considered key multi-media specialisms, which can only further your general creative skillset. According to Read, this juncture in her life coincided with a renewed interest in painting, having been encouraged by a close friend around this time. Such was both her ability and promoting of her wares, that Read soon found her painted work in demand, resulting in commission invites as well as approaches from business owners looking for original artwork to place in their premises. This all stemmed from her initial forays (and accumulative successes) locally. Read won a place to exhibit in a Derby Arts Festival competition and since then her work has been keenly sought after by varying establishments, including galleries, offices, bars, and restaurants, along with many private commissions as mentioned above.
Transient and often fleeting emotions and personal mindsets tend to furnish and then go on to nourish Read’s creative fixations then and there, and be they sense of euphoria, sadness or anger they all serve to inspire her pieces, whilst colours play their own integral part in the process. Read concurs that absolutely anything from the true vibrant contrasting colours of traffic lights to the blue hues of a cornflower or multi-coloured sky can and do pique her artistic interest enough to establish a starting point to a specific study. Otherwise nature and music play pivotal roles in influencing her individual and collective bodies of work.
Whilst previously signed up with Washington Green, one of the UK’s foremost fine art publishers, Read promotes her work independently as it stands, and has overseen accumulative commercial successes with her work selling throughout this country as well as Ireland and America to date. More recently, Read was selected as a finalist in the North of the Wall art competition.