Interview: Nigel Sense, “I Work With Tools” at Sydney Fringe Festival

With the Sydney Fringe Festival kicking off this Friday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce local Marrickville artist, Nigel Sense. His exhibition “I Work With Tools” is part of the upcoming Sydney Fringe Festival and opens Friday 14th September at the Sheffer Gallery. I hope everyone has a copy of the Fringe Program and has started planning their next month of entertainment. Make sure you add Nigel’s exhibition to your list of ‘must see’ events.

How would you describe your upcoming exhibition “I Work WithTools”, which is part of the Sydney Fringe Festival?
I work with with tools is a humorous look at the Australian culture and the arts. The works draw upon recognised products and logos as a base to engage the viewer. I like to then add my own interpretations and agendas to this to create a new Perspective. They have been described as a “rebirthing” of unique Australian iconography and those things we do differently to other cultures.

Where did the inspiration for your current body of work come from?
All of my work draws from my day to day life. It’s often when I am on the train commuting to and from work, looking at railway billboards or advertising in the newspaper that I come up with ideas. I work in a print packaging factory so I stare at logos and packaging all day. I guess some of this rubs off.

I feel my work is also very Australian in the sense that it takes the piss out of itself and out of things I actually admire. You always get away with taking the piss out of close friends more than you would attempt it with strangers.

Your exhibition is being curated by Johnny Romeo, how did that come about?
I was a fan of his work and knowing he was from the inner west also, I approached him for some advice on the industry and on my work in general. I emailed him a link to my website which led to a meeting over coffee and it all went from there. Now I would consider him a good friend.

How did you get involved with the Fringe Festival?
I’m friends with Lew the Director of the Fringe. We originally met thru him running Hardware Gallery, which was just up the road from my house. Like Johnny, Lew has always provided encouragement and feedback and so I feel if Lew is involved then its going to be a success.

What is your favourite piece in the exhibition? Why?
The painting “Sour Artist“. I love how it takes the piss out of me. I’m not saying I’m a sour artist, well not yet, but I do like to whinge occasionally.

How did you become an artist? Did you always want to be an artist?
For me I was always knew I was an artist, every since I can remember I was making art. But it wasn’t until I was travelling around Europe and I went to the Tate Modern in London and saw a Jackson Pollock in the flesh that I knew I wanted to do it as a profession. That was the moment I thought fuck it I want to be an artist, and not a person that does art on the side.

Do you do commission work? How can someone contact you if they want an original Nigel Sense artwork?
Yep I do commissions. The easiest way to contact me is go to my website, all my contact details are there.

What events and exhibitions are you looking forward to attending during the Fringe Festival?
The Great Unknown 2012 – A Curated Exhibition of Un(der)Represented Sydney Artists and the Google show at Seymour centre (gotta plug that one cos im in it).

What’s next for Nigel Sense?
I will be showing at Gallery 2010 in May next year I think. It will be a series of works that combined the music industry and packaging design together.

and finally….Inner West questions

Best place for a caffeine hit in the inner west?
Coffee Alchemy on Addison Road Marrickville. It’s just across the road from my studio which is handy.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the inner west?
Pickwicks on Enmore Road, but unfortunately they closed down.

The inner west’s best kept secret?
This is a hard one because all the best places don’t stay a secret for very long. Like Coffee Alchemy for example was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and now there is a line up around the corner. Sometimes it feels like the brunch episode on the show Portlandia round here. I have some old favourite haunts like the Warren View on Tuesday’s for their $13 meals, even better now they have some nice boutique beers on tap, and I could tell you the best Thai on Enmore Road but I like it being quiet!

Sheffer Gallery
38 Lander Street



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