Artist Interview: Nick West

Nick West is a British artist based in Tokyo. You can find out more about Nick in his bio.

In this interview, Nick talks about colour, recurring themes, and realising an idea.

Do you have a favourite color or color palette? 
I do have a favourite colour, but I have never used it in an artwork. My choice of colours is incidental to the objects I work with. When I used a subway map, the painting I produced was multi-coloured. When I used matches, the book I made was red and beige.

Do you have a favourite artist? 
There are so many artists that interest me that narrowing it down to a single one would mean that my choice would have to be revised, almost immediately. Recently, I’ve become interested in the conceptual artist Martin Creed again, but tomorrow it will be someone else

Explain your work in up to 40 words. 
The work I have made for this show uses post-war British military medals as its basis. These vertical stripes are presented chronologically, from left to right, condensing vast, unimaginable experiences into short, abstract strips of colour.

Do you explore any particular themes? If so, what? 
The themes that recur in my work are language and abstraction, but I like to think that each work explores these themes in different ways. This artwork is the first time that I have worked with specific social histories, and in many ways, this is about how we, as a culture, codify experience.

Sometimes inspiration strikes and everything comes together just as imagined and other times inspiration is just a starting place. How close is your finished piece to what you first imagined? 
If I could imagine my ideas clearly, there would be no need for me to make them. I can never quite imagine how something will look until I realise it. The fun part is seeing what I thought of and how different it is from my initial idea.

What would you like people to know about your work?  
It’s an abstract anthology based on a particular set of rules, namely, post-war British military medals. It seems extraordinary to me that such life-changing events become abbreviated into a few simple bands of colour. 


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