By Nadine Walker
It was around a year ago when my love affair for Lola Nicol began. Setting my eyes on her vintage reworked wood pieces sparked my curiosity for the talent behind the paint. My discovery happened on the internet and indeed, many of Lola’s fans have only ever seen her work online. Creating heavenly mirror-like paintings of iconic music stars, her debut collection grew from boredom and a love for Lana Del Rey. A year on, Nicol talks about her exhibition, friendship, music and a relationship with one of this year’s biggest music stars.
Nicol is a twenty-something girl with an enormous talent. The artist moved from Glasgow to a quaint Highland village called Brora last year and almost immediately regained a relationship with her paint brushes.
Nicol started her collection with a painting of Lana Del Rey. Upon discovering the artist, Nicol became mesmerised with her old Hollywood beauty and immediately felt inspired. Nicol gave Lana Del Rey the painting at a gig in Glasgow’s Oran Mor last November, a memory which she says will stay with her forever. The singer has since kept in touch with Nicol and is very encouraging of her career. She gushes: “I am just so completely honoured that she likes my work. Lana was probably the first person outside my group of friends to comment on any of my pieces and it’s nice to know she still takes the time to ask how the collection is coming along. I’d be very happy for her to make an appearance at my exhibition if she is in town; however I’m sure she will be extremely busy this summer.”
Her passion for artist Lana Del Rey has fuelled her portraits and inspired her debut collection Swinging With The Old Stars that is set to be showcased for the first time this summer. Nicol works on discarded vintage wood that she sources in the croft around her home in the highlands- giving each piece wonderful character.
“I’m working on a selection of pieces for the collection at the moment. Most of the pieces are being created on reclaimed wood. I’ve spent the last few weeks working on a big table top Jimi Hendrix and am researching other ‘stars’ that I want to include.”
Nicol’s latest piece is of rock n roll king Elvis Presley. Keen to engage with her following, Nicol shares photos of her work as the piece develops. Her latest picture of the Elvis piece carried the caption ‘you ain’t ever caught a rabbit’ homing in on the passion Nicol has for music icons of the past and present. She explains: “I want the exhibition to be very musical based – in keeping with the pieces – so am hoping to have some live music involved. I am crazy for Davey Horne at the minute and a few other Scottish bands such as Kassidy, The Imagineers and The Stagger Rats that I would either like to include or approach to use some of their music throughout the exhibit.
“It’s really important to me that I have these bands involved in some way, as these are the people who create the soundtrack to my paintings.”
Nicol’s family have had a strong influence on her painting career, her Grandfather-who she cutely refers to as her ‘Pops’- stands as her biggest fan. It was a water colour painting of a Jack Russell that her mother created when she was young that remains vivid in Nicol’s childhood memory: “The Jack Russell painting used to hang in my Pop’s house. I always thought about it when I was little and it’s my first memory of art. My Pops gifted me the painting last week as a ‘well done’ on my progress so far, I love it.”
Nicol has filled her year with commissions of the likes of the musically-gifted John Lennon to model and music-hang-around Kate Moss, finding herself and her paint brush in the fortunate position of inspirational figures to work with: “I’ve not worked on a piece yet that hasn’t had me inspired as most of my commissions are music related, which is a true love for me.
“I recently worked on a customer’s girlfriend; she was so beautiful to paint it made a hard job- painting someone I’m not familiar with – very easy. I met her just before she got it; it’s situations like that which make all the hard work worth it.”
Intrigued by Andy Warhol and his ability to connect celebrity with artist expression, Nicol’s Swinging With The Old Stars collection has a strong iconic presence. She explains: “I guess my collection coincides with Andy Warhol’s expression work in ‘15 minutes of fame’ as it somewhat captures the demise of famously troubled celebrities living in a very cut throat industry.”
Nicol describes herself as “terrible in social situations” and admits she’s scared of the dark: “In a room full of people, I get tongue tied and lose my train of thought so usually I don’t have a lot to say.” She likes to pass the time trawling the internet for obscure music videos and enjoys the odd book. Above all, Nicol enjoys painting and it’s her love for music and getting creative that is making her debut collection flourish. One could say her memorable style and endearing nature mixed with her undeniable talent means Lola Nicol need never feel socially awkward again. After all, it’s her paintings that do all the talking.
Check out www.lolanicol.com