In a new online series, our friends at North Coast Asylum will introduce you to a collection of artists from around the world whose work is inspired by the sea. First up, Cornwall based painter Nina Brooke.
Nina… Artist, surfer, global wanderer…. in that order? We’re not quite sure, it seems all three are so intertwined that remove one and the whole game changes.
It’s clear to see that Nina draws inspiration from the surf. On an obvious level the subject matter, but when you delve in deeper you see that her coastal living heavily influences the way she works too. The loose relaxed lines, the energy she captures in the paintings and the confident fresh colours.
We caught up with Nina to understand just how important the ocean is to her work, her wellbeing and her daily life.
NCA: Nina, thousands of people adore your works, we have seen first-hand people rushing to exhibitions to get their favourite before anyone else does. Viewers are absorbed by the colours and subject matter. Are you trying to provide an element of escapism with your work?
NINA: Definitely, escapism is a major part of what I create in my work. Bringing the audience to a place of natural beauty, a moment of tranquillity, peace and wonder. To express the relationships between the human body, space and an environment. I want the viewer to look at the paintings as if they were gazing into a mirror, a vision, a moment taken from above. But it’s not only about escapism, these paintings are about offering a sense of modest perspective. A reminder of how amazing our world is, how magnificent it is, and how it offers and awaits us to enjoy it. A blue and Green world full of beautiful shapes and colours expecting us to leap into it. During this a moment of stillness, I endeavour to give the viewer more time to be conscious of our planet.
NCA: How does your personal relationship with the ocean feed into how you create? Do you think you are able to depict the sea and surf so beautifully because you have such an intimate relationship with it?
NINA: My personal relationship with the ocean started a young age as I was brought up surrounded by the natural elements. Born into a sailing family, we ended up crossing the Atlantic when I was just 2 weeks old! I was always scared of its wildness and calmed by its stillness. My work is portrayed through energetic brushstrokes but gives a state of calm. From watching the sea for many hours, and flying over it you pick up on so many different textures, depths and colours, light and emotion of the water. This is what inspired me to create again and again.
NCA: Do you think travelling has also been fundamental to your paintings?
NINA: Sure, my Mother’s father was an KLM pilot and we always flew back to visit her family in the Caribbean. I loved sitting and gazing through the aeroplane window, it always reminds me just how little we are. It has always given such a humbling feeling that I relate to in my work. Your problems shrink and clarity grows. This concept is what I like to portray in my paintings
When travelling to a new country, you see this with fresh eyes. New colours, light, smells, texture, form, movement and character filter through your lens and brings a new wave of energy to work. The planet is such an incredibly beautiful place and my work is just one way that I can communicate this to the viewer.
NCA: Lastly, a curveball question. Ultimate painting tracks to listen to?
NINA: Well its definitely a mixed bag of personal favs that make me feel that in that moment – the studio is the best place to be.
She Burns – Foy Vance
Feels like a Sunday – Elderbrook
Carousel – Max Bradford
Let Me Fall – Laura Mvula
I know what I know – Paul Simon
You Worry Me – Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats
Come Together – The Beatles
I Need My Girl – The National
Can’t believe the way we Flow- James Blake
Dance Moves – Frank Moody
The Girl from Ipanema – Joao Gilberto
Better by Your side – Aeble, Tom Aspaul