Contemporary artist creates ‘little pieces of candy’
Vail CO Colorado
Editor’s note: This is the second profile in a series of stories about artists who are participating in Art in the Rockies, taking place July 9 and 10 in Edwards.
Writer Louis Leray described Nigel Conway’s artwork as being slippery – in the sense that “his paintings are in the gallery for about as long as it takes ice to melt … and then they’re gone.”
Leray compared Conway’s artwork to little pieces of candy, “with licorice lines and glossy palette of cherry syrup and kirsch.”
Conway, who was born in Leigh outside of Manchester, England, is a self-taught artist whose creative process has developed over the years through explorations of various mediums. His early artistic process focused on film, photography and filmmaking.
“A lot of things I found myself doing in the draft-physical aspect of making a painting are things I learned from being on a movie set or a still photography set,” explains Conway.
And it’s the elements of space and texture once captured by his photography and his inspiration from characters and images that appear throughout life that have made their way into Conway’s paintings.
“I’m inspired by the manual labor of, say, digging a big hole on the side of the highway,” says Conway. “In fact, 90 percent of what I’m inspired by has nothing to do with the painting world.
“Someone told me that the word ‘artist’ comes from a Sanskrit word that just means ‘to make something’ and I’m very attracted to that.”
In his most recent body of work, Conway manually layers and removes surfaces of his paintings subconsciously, connecting the images of his subjects to a physical reality with which the viewer can identify.
“The thing about painting faux, the big deal about it, is that I feel compelled to do it every day and to do it at new levels,” says Conway. “There’s always something going on in my head, some nonsense up there that I am trying to achieve.
“So I’m compelled to do it. If I let my head wrap around the task of painting, I wouldn’t have a painting out there. My head would have never given me the permission to start being a painter in the first place.”
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