I love children’s drawings, because they draw with no preconception. They draw it like it is. My niece gives me her drawings sometimes. They’re amazing.”

So how does he access this naivety? “I’m quite impatient,” he says. “I get frustrated very easily. I like to do paintings quickly.” I tell him my favourite Picasso quote, about it taking him 50 years to rediscover how to paint like a child. “That’s good,” he says. “I’ve got another one like it. I was influenced by Goya and Bacon, but also by a guy I saw exhibited recently in the Royal Academy, Philip Guston. Guston does these cartoon-like paintings. He repeats motifs like light-bulbs and cigarettes. ‘Painting is the best game in the world’, he said once.”

The Royal Academy, where Nick still works at a part-time day-job, is central to his success. “I’ve had some work exhibited in the Summer Exhibition there three years running,” he says. No mean feat, and a good place to get your first big break. The well-respected artist Amanda Vesey puts a great quote on the PR sheet for the exhibition. ‘Hurrying through the RA Summer exhibition to see the Rose Wylies, I was pulled up by a small square painting, unframed and hung low on the wall… The combination of colour, of thin and thick paint, of the shapes and the chalk scribbles, was as satisfying and evocative as a poem composed of a ravishing coalescence of words, but whose meaning is ambiguous. ‘I want it’, I said to my companion. ‘Buy it,’ she said. ‘So I did.’ On such gut reactions, whole careers are launched. AL

'Road to Nowhere' by Nick Carrick

HQ Gallery
When? 11th March, 10.30am-5pm Tues -Sat, Sun 1-5pm
How Much? Free Entry
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