Represented by Smithson Gallery
“To begin with I just make gestural marks to break that solidness and indecision, I then build in lots of different layers – masking off, removing, adding, removing again. The structure and form is architectural, man-made, and quite nostalgic. There’s a worn and slightly organic element to the works – I don’t want things to be perfect, I love all the things that happen through not knowing and just playing.”
— Nick Grindrod
Nick Grindrod is a contemporary British painter based in Sheffield, United Kingdom. His saturated and sedimentary compositions materialise through his process. He attends to his paintings as if he is conducting an archaeological investigation, skilfully adding and removing layer upon layer to reveal stories of the past: weathered brick, exposed plaster, a faded sign. A patina emerges, creating a stratal depth of texture echoing the walls of his city, Sheffield, which speak of their industrial past.
Stylistically the works pertain to geometric abstraction in which fields of clean-edge colour anchor the compositions. Initially working from sketches, but harnessing immediacy and intuition, Grindrod finds harmony and rhythm in interlocking shapes and repetition. His paintings emanate joy and dynamism: lifting from the surface, they sing with colour and soaring architectural forms.
As a devoted art world enthusiast, he pours over books and soaks up exhibitions, finding himself deeply affected by the likes of John Hoyland and Lee Krasner, whose expressive painterly styles and fervent colour application inspire a playful informality and freedom that shapes Grindrod’s practice. Colour becomes wild, tonal and dimensional. Forms become undone, and gestural marks, splashes, and abrasions interrupt the hard edges. This fluidity of application stems from Grindrod’s artistic beginnings as a figurative painter, which lends to the subtle organic qualities evident in the work.
Represented by Smithson Gallery, and exhibiting internationally, Grindrod’s practice has gone from strength to strength, quickly gaining a loyal crowd of growing collectors and enthusiasts, and boasting multiple sell out collections and print releases. Recent accolades include a collaboration for Coast fashion, and a private commission for The Londoner Hotel Macau, China, and a London solo show with Smithson Gallery. His works are also housed by the Soho House collection, numerous private collections, and have been listed at several reputable auctions.
How has your relationship with art changed over time?
Art in every sense has always been a constant non-wavering force in my life. It’s the one thing that floats my boat and makes me feel like an individual. What has changed however is the world around me, and the specific context in which I am making art. The pandemic catalyzed a big shift, for the first time I was able to make the leap to painting full time. This change led to gallery representation with Smithson Gallery, and took my practice to a whole new level. I now feel more embedded in the context of the art world in a way I wasn’t before.
Where do you find inspiration? What drives your work?
I find my inspiration in my surrounding environment, the city of Sheffield and its industrial past. I pay attention to how the city is transforming architecturally, noticing how time shapes materials and impacts surfaces, and this finds its way into my paintings.
What drives my work is the daily commitment I make to my practice. There is almost a therapeutic dimension to the ritual of coming into the studio every day and continuing the ongoing conversation I have with painting.
What is your favorite part of your process?
I generally work intuitively, but my favorite part of the process is when things don’t go to plan — the moments when I am faced with a situation in which I must switch from instinct into a deeper mode of consideration in order to make decisions and find solutions.
What is one thing about your art and/or practice that our audience may not know?
I actually trained as a figurative and observational painter, very much painting what I saw in front of me. My practice has evolved from this purely observational approach, in which I am accurately portraying a whole scene, and moved towards the finer details which inform the abstraction — the patina formed on a window frame, the weathering of stone.
What does your dream piece/project look like?
I always find this question hard, because I am so grateful for and content with what I have in the here and now. Of course, I aspire to continue growing as an artist and relish the opportunities that come my way, but at the end of the day I am very happy in my studio just painting every day, allowing the work to emerge and evolve intuitively.