The British artist Nigel Howlett – whose work we recently discovered – is interested in illusion and the cartoon. He likes simple ideas illustrated through colorful, bold and fresh image making. Having left Art school in 2003 with a BA in fine art, Nigel has since worked in the film and television industry as a set designer, for clients including Channel 4, BBC, ITV, and Sky, brands include Issey Miyake and Nike. Recently he has been concentrating on different personal art projects – among which is this fascinating series named ‘Behind the Scenes’. The ‘Behind the Scenes’ series was born on set, inspired by Americana and its cliche characters. The canvas is used playfully – hung facing the wall – and the images are painted on the back, leaving a lot of space for interpretation with the spectator. Howlett deliberately makes the wooden frame and the canvas part of the piece – creating as he states it; a strange dialogue between this ‘real’ element and the cartoon nature of the painting. We love this beautiful series.
People see a reflection of themselves in a character and no matter how individual you think you are you’ll always be a stereotype.
Nigel has a few recurring themes in all of his personal art work, many of which relate to his set design practice in some way or the another – as he’s been working in that field for 10 years working with the mentioned big brands. The contrast between real and fake which is the core of his business seems to have many parallels to reality forming a tremendous field of inspiration in the work of Howlett.
When I’m on set I very often find myself in a constructed environment which feels real. I’ll be in someones living room or in a greasy spoon cafe and then I’ll take a few steps through a door and see how the wall is held up by a load of wooden braces and weights. The scene through the window is infact a baggy canvas with some tree branches rudimentary clamped either side. I’ll often look one way at a room which feels intimate and quiet and then I’ll turn around and there will be fifty people, a camera, lights and a runner offering me a tray of sandwiches!
We look forward to more beautiful work on the border of real and constructed by Nigel.
For more work and information see here.