Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2019

Studio Sessions N I GEL HUMPHR I E S

What is your musical background? I’ve played the drums since I was 12 years old, when I received my first snare drum (inspired by the Boys’ Brigade). I gigged with pub and club bands on the indie circuit in the 1990s, covering bands like Bryan Adams and Queen. I still have three drum kits, including a recently-purchased handpan drum – luckily my wife likes it! Who do you listen to? When I’m in my studio, I like to listen to all kinds of music, from progressive rock like early Genesis and Yes to Queen, It Bites, Cardiacs and of course the Beatles. Which band or singer would you like to paint in the future? I’d love to paint the Beatles or Madonna. Small figures are always fun, no matter what genre. It’s tapping into musical tastes and creating a sense of nostalgia by revealing the musical scenes of different eras. All of my work is based on fun, and I hope my new series reflects this.

While it’s impossible not to like Nigel Humphries, we do have to confess to some serious studio envy. The Funko Pop artist kindly invited us to his home in Stoke-on-Trent for a slice of homemade cake, cuddles with his two rescue greyhounds and the first look at his fabulous new music-inspired collection. It’s been a year of pop comebacks, with the Spice Girls embarking on their surprise UK tour in May and ABBA announcing the autumn release of their first new music in 35 years. Boasting a line-up to rival them all is Nigel’s new Mixtape series, which features classic singers and bands like Elton John, Queen and David Bowie. Bringing the world’s most famous musicians to life from his purpose-built studio in the back garden, Nigel has rediscovered his love for music. A keen drummer himself (he even rests his easel on a drum kit!), he dived paintbrush-first into the history of rock and pop. Once we’d torn our eyes away from his studio – which boasts a cabinet full of Funko Pop characters and a Marvel comic strip lampshade – we pinned him down for some questions. Firstly, we love your new work! How did it feel to move away from your superhero series? I’ve enjoyed going down a different route and exploring new ideas. It’s been a challenge to bring the characters out, as they are both real people and well-known personas. How did you research the musicians? I watched videos and researched costumes and photography to capture the energy. I also listened to a lot of the music, including the Spice Girls! It’s been fun experimenting with thicker layers of paint to depict the fabric and creases of their stage outfits.

» Nigel and his wife have two rescue greyhounds (Tilly and Stan) and three rescue chickens (Sissy, Lily and Lottie) » Inside his home, he has our art on the walls – including works by Xue Wang and his very own Joker-inspired ‘Hi Puddin’! DID YOU KNOW?

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