Gary Nicholls


Interview with Gary Nicholls —


Gary Nichols



1.   Who are you and what do you do?
I am Gary Nicholls – Fine Art  Photographer.





2.  Why art/photography?
The ability using digital cameras and Photoshop to create 21st century art has allowed me to express my imagination and storytelling in ways not possible for me with other mediums. Visualising the image and then travelling the world to find the elements is a huge part of the process. Visual direction of the subjects allows my images to be brought to life in the way that tells the story in a cinemagraphic manner.




3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
My father taught me to draw as a young child, taking me to galleries and exhibitions from the age of 8. I was fascinated by the process or creating something amazing from imagination. I started using oils and watercolour then pen and ink drawings. I knew I wanted to be a creative I just struggled to be happy with how. It was not until I started using a digital camera and photoshop that I truly felt I had found my medium.


“Papplewick pumping station”


4. What are your favourite subject(s) and media(s)?
My favourite subjects are people, not necessarily portraits, but people acting out a scene. Anything that is a little edgy and dark. Darkness and fantasy are powerful narratives, which is where my skills lie. Portraying emotion is the key to my work, the viewer does not need to understand what is going on, only to feel the emotion being portrayed. All my work is printed on Chromelux Aluminium which specifically enhances the detail and vivid colours.




5. How do you work and approach your subject?
Your inner vision is tuned to specific elements of art. You may like black and white, landscapes, portraits etc, but elements of all of these define your style. For me it is light. How Caravaggio used light to tell a story fascinated me and that is the approach I take to create my work, along with very detailed images, building up multiple layers in the same way that the old masters used oil. The ideas are, probably the easiest part of the process, I eat sleep and drink them. They come to me at odd times and I ‘see’ them completely finished in my mind’s eye. In order to find the setting I have ‘seen’ I search the internet for locations then travel there, wherever in the world that may be. The end result has to replicate the image I first ‘see’ for that picture, so researching the location has always been paramount. I might visit a place not for the place itself, but for a particular part or element of that place. I then shoot the subject in a studio in order to match and control the lighting. The completed images are printed on metal because the luminosity of works by the old masters, was due to these painters’ practice of applying multiple, thin layers of paint to their canvases. In the same way, the layers of dyes infused into the thick, translucent coating on the aluminium plates give a similar sense of depth and luminosity. This leads a lot of people to think my works are paintings, which is quite flattering.


“River Dane”


6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
“February Fill Dyke” by Benjamin Williams Leader was the first oil painting my father showed me, indication how light leads you into the scene. All art by Caravaggio  –  the use of light just using a paintbrush is amazing and helps the viewer see the story he has created. Johannes Vermeer – how his work represents light as a tangible substance, influenced the way I work. H. R. Giger – his sculptures are thought provoking as are his paintings. Jill Greenberg – American photographer and Pop artist influenced my work in the techniques she uses with both camera and photoshop.
Salvador Dali  – his creative ideas were insane and an insight into his mind with his paintings being the epitome of Surrealism




7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I am creating something unique in that it is a Fine Art Story which usually astounds the viewer, in the complexity of the imagery. I can never tell which piece from my collection is going to sell well, it is a difficult call, but often a surprising one. Having images exhibited in the Louvre, Paris, Exhibitions in London, New York and Miami with collectors buying the art will always be the best response as it is a validation that you have made it to the place you want to be and others agree with you. Silvershotz in Australia selected me from 700 photographers they had featured, to be 1 of 25 in a celebratory folio book, to be in that league was very humbling.


“North Kefalonia”


8. What do you like about your work?
My style is a cinemagraphic one based on detail, from corner to corner of an image, ‘with an old masters’ look but a surreal feel. That style evolved through my workflow, trying new techniques and adapting them to create a look that I like, working layer after layer in the same way the old masters did, to create the image. What I like most about it is that it is created using light, not focus, because the images are so detailed. I watch period dramas to understand how to create a cinemagraphic look to the finished image and study the lighting used to create the mood. The most satisfying moment is when a new piece is exhibited for the first time, but generally it is the people I meet while doing what I do that is priceless.


“Absinthe Hanna”


9. What advice would you give to other artists?
Never give up and never undersell or undervalue yourself. Price your work and stick to it. Art is subjective, there will always be someone who values your work as much as you do. Promotion is as important as the work itself, if no one is aware of you, who will buy or exhibit your work?


“From Rockafella Centre Roof”


10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I will have finished my 450 image Art Trilogy, The Imaginarium and almost certainly onto my next series which may well take a post apocalyptic look. I am a storyteller in art, so I will continue to do that for as long as I am able.



Gary Nicholls





The Imaginarium Trilogy:
Gary Nicholls:




Lisa Freeman


Lisa Freeman is an Arts Illustrated’s Correspondent, representing the United Kingdom.
Lisa is also a Public Relations Director for – Quite Great PR & Marketing in Cambridge.