From a man cave at the bottom of the garden overlooking miles of beautiful Esk Valley countryside, artist Nick Dudding is living the dream .
After years of working as an advertising creative in London, and later as a chef, Nick recently relocated to a property between Sleights and Grosmont, to pursue a career as an artist.
Nick only began drawing about three years ago in soft pastels – starting off casually doodling sketches of people but being widely encouraged to pursue art due to his talent – and most of his work s0 far has been commissioned portraits with the odd exception.
He is delighted to have established a base locally and hopes the ‘man cave’ will be the perfect place to unleash his creative endeavours, much the way it worked well for the author Roald Dahl.
“Last year was the year of the shed,” he said, “built with friends as a place to work as chalk dust gets everywhere.
“I like the concept that it still feels like going out to work, even though it is at the bottom of the garden.”
I like that it still feels like going out to work, even thought it is at the bottom of the gardenNick Dudding
He is trying to get himself more widely known locally and is exhibiting his work in the Reading Rooms Gallery on Whitby’s Flowergate.
Nick’s work has already been exhibited at the Mall Galleries in central London. The Pastel Society, which has included people like Rembrandt, was exhibiting and Nick was chuffed to be involved.
His reputation was boosted further by featuring in the Urban Art Fair in Brixton, one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse and up-and-coming areas of the capital.
But Nick was really enthused with his involvement at last September’s Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage, where he hired a cottage to showcase his portraits.
“People are not necessarily buying art, they are going to Staithes for a look round at someone’s house to see pictures,” he said.
“The reaction I was getting to my work was that people were either swivelling on their heels as they came in as they were not seeing Staithes harbour or landscapes, but a big African man – or they were staying for hours and saying it was amazing as it was different to what everyone else was doing,” he said. “I anticipate doing this [going to the art festival] again.”
The reference to the African men is part of an ongoing project called The Sapeurs.
It stands for the Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People). They’re a band of men who turn the art of dressing into a cultural statement in the Republic of Congo and Nick says they make him laugh.
“What makes their sense of dress all the more remarkable – surreal even – is that it often takes place against a backdrop of poverty and deprivation,” he said.
Nick is hoping to create portraits of some of the characters visiting for Whitby Gothic Weekend when it returns to the town in the spring. But for now – do catch his work in the Reading Rooms, 24a Flowergate, Whitby. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page thereadingroomgallery
Visit http://www.nickdudding.com/ to see more of Nick’s work.