Nick Carrick studied at Chelsea School of Art and Design (Foundation) as well as Coventry University (BA Fine Art).
He is interested in exploring the possibilities of abstraction, taking as his starting point the great British Modernists of the 20th century (Auerbach, Bacon etc).
Nick Carrick says “When looking for subject matter for my paintings I am searching for an emotive response to something. This can be from holiday snaps, a walk, old photographs, newspaper clippings or a painting from the history of art.” He has a plan chest in his studio full of such images which he retains in the knowledge that one day he will refer to them.
He continues “As time passes the images can become distorted, lose their original reference or even become more poignant. They can take me back to a time where I can access emotions within those things. There is an ontology happening within those images, where I can explore existence, being, becoming, and reality.”
For Nick Carrick the process of paintings plays a big part. As a starting point he makes a fast expressive fluid painting capturing chance aspects within the paint and brush work. He then adds multiple layers, reinforces the image and then distorts it through washes of paint. When dry he will then sand the surface down. This process is a physical manifestation of the memory working. Only certain things can be seen, Nick Carrick compares this to searching for gold or excavation for a treasure to be found underneath the layers.
Nick Carrick’s recent subjects have arisen from repeated trips to Spain, where he has been going with family for most of his life. He goes to the same place in Valencia but also travels around the country from there. He is fascinated by Spanish culture, architecture, landscape and food but only started to document these journeys 5 years ago making sketches, pastel and oil paintings on paper. Then larger works would develop back in his studio in Hove, using both the sketches as well as his memory to develop the paintings.
Whilst the place is important as a starting point, Nick Carrick wants the paintings to be seen more as triggers for the viewer to add their story than of a specific place which may only have meaning for the artist. Travel provides the opportunity to discover new places and cultures: In 2006 Nick Carrick was invited to do an art residency in Newfoundland by fellow artist Tom Hammick.
Other influences include artists that travel: Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, Doig and Ofili in Trinidad, Bomberg in Spain. Nick Carrick says “This human need to want to escape but also reconnect resonates with me and I think a universal want. Even more now than ever.”
During the Covid lockdowns Nick Carrick has found new inspiration in Sussex: Solitary walks, cycle rides have provided new subject matter within the changing seasons and local South Downs landscape. Lockdown has also provided the opportunity to catch up on reading the philosophy of walking: “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau, “Wanderlust” by Rebecca Solnit.
During the summer in 2019 paintings on paper by Nick Carrick are touring major contemporary art museums in China as part of an exhibition called A Letter Home curated by Contemporary British Painting. He was shortlisted and exhibited in their first 2016 open show.
Nick Carrick has exhibited widely in London and the South East, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
In 2015 Nick Carrick’s painting “Night Shift” was selected by Tom Hammick for the Towner Gallery Exhibition “Towards Night” alongside works by Peter Doig, Julian Opie, Ken Kiff, Craigie Aitchison and many other well established artists.
In 2006 he was a resident at the Pouch Cove Foundation, Newfoundland, Canada; and in 2017 Artist in residence at Manor Laurette Bordeaux.