One of the things I love about my job is meeting people. People are interesting, everyone has a story. I have studied psychology, so I’m fascinated by what makes people tick.
I have therefore decided to dedicate a proportion of my blog website to interesting people I meet. I also figure it’s much easier to write about other people than it is to write about me (and probably a lot more interesting for all you people out there too).
This blog will be a short Q&A session with a very talented artist called Lola Nicol, a West Lothian born artist, who relocated to Glasgow and who now lives in Brora.
One of the things I love about Lola is that she combines two of my loves, art and music. Her paintings feature rock and pop icons as well as some sporting legends.
You can find her on:
What influences you? Are you influenced by music?
I’m influenced by a lot of things. I live in a croft by the beach and I take a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. I miss Glasgow desperately and I feel sometimes I paint to fill that gap. And of course music plays a big part in what I do. I’m a huge fan of live music and I love working alongside some of my favourite bands, whether it be painting for them or having them share my work. I’m proud to be involved and honoured when they take the time to help me promote myself.
You painted Lana Del Ray before she became well known – why did you choose her?
I’m a big fan of her music and she has such a rare beauty. At the time of painting the piece, there wasn’t a lot of press or hype surrounding her. She was very intriguing both in her style and her music. I never thought she would come across the image. It started off as a gift for a friend and it turned out to be much more important than I could have expected.
You met Lana at her gig in Oran Mor in Glasgow, what was she like?
Lana was very sweet and extremely modest. She asked how the gig sounded and what sort of vibe there was standing in the audience. She also highlighted her fondness for Glasgow and the people she has befriended in the city.
And Lana has also seen your artwork. Were you nervous of her reaction?
My friend tagged my painting of her on Facebook, so her management became aware of it. I’m surprised when any one compliments my work, so when Lana commented on the piece, it was completely unexpected. I was a little worried because the painting shows a very vulnerable, pained expression, which I guess wouldn’t be the biggest compliment to everyone, but she seemed to like that. The piece is still with me but Lana has the first run of a limited number of prints.
Tell us about your collection “Swinging with the old stars”. Who features?
I started painting for the collection last summer. It incorporates a number of actors/musicians/models tainted by the industry. The pieces have all been painted on old, damaged or recycled wood which, like these individuals have either been thrown away or damaged (intentionally graffitied or worn with time). It’s a fickle, cut throat existence and I want to portray this in my paintings.
There’s often a dark vulnerability to your paintings – where does this come from?
All of the emotions I felt in my last few years of living in various parts of Glasgow are painted in the faces of the subjects I work on. I guess it’s my way of expressing myself.
Anyone you would most like to paint?
I love tainted beauty and anyone beautiful with an air of mystery or misery about them is the perfect subject.
Have you always painted? How did you get into art?
I painted when I was younger. I studied art at school at higher and advanced higher level but never had the confidence in myself or my art work to take it any further than that. I was very quiet and had huge confidence issues, so I chose not to go to university. I’ve been working in and out of office jobs for a good part of my adult life and only started painting again after I relocated to the highlands.
What made you settle in Brora?
My family moved there and it gives me time and space to work. It does get lonely at times but my friends and my life in Glasgow are just a train journey away if I need it.
Tell us about your studio, what is it like?
In the summer I like to work outside when I can. I live beside the beach and have quite a bit of land around me. It’s a really calming environment to work in. Otherwise I have an old wood shed attached to the house, which generally involves wrapping up warm and filling a hot water bottle. My bedroom is also filled with materials and pieces of work. I’ll paint anywhere that’s peaceful with no distraction.
What made you use wood canvases?
I moved up north with no intention of taking up painting. I didn’t have a job and really just wanted to fill some time. Unfortunately I had left all my canvases in Glasgow and an old pile of school desk tops was the first thing I could get my hands on. Now I can’t imagine working on any other material. I try and use reclaimed pieces when possible – this can range from driftwood to old wardrobes.
Dream for the future?
To be lucky enough to keep painting full time. People’s tastes and ideas change, so maybe I won’t always be this lucky but right now I am completely contented doing what I love for a living.