Today I’m very proud to have been made UK Ambassador of Debut Contemporary Gallery, following my work on the LA showcase. The gallery team asked me some questions about it for an article they published today. Read it below (Original can be found here: LA to London and Back: 5 Minutes with Nicola Anthony.)
LA to London and Back: 5 Minutes with Nicola Anthony
You may have heard about our recent adventure to LA..
On September 2nd 2011, selected artworks by thirteen Debut Artists represented the UK Collective at ‘Flag Stop’ Los Angeles, and Alternative Art Fair involving leading artists, curators and art industry experts. Debut’s micro-gallery show within the fair, titled London Art Box (LAB), was curated by Debut Contemporary founder and director, Samir Ceric in collaboration with Flag Stop’s M.Ryan Noble and three Debut artists: Nicola Anthony, Abigail Box and Kimi Wylde.
We couldn’t be more proud of the achievements of the artists involved and having impressed the LA art scene. There are now a number of opportunities and invitations that have presented themselves including an exhibition confirmed at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) this December- January.
To commend the efforts of our team, we are very pleased to inform you that artists Nicola Anthony (UK) and M.Ryan Noble (US) have been appointed as the first official Debut Ambassadors, representing the Debut Concept and the Debut Artists, both in the UK and Abroad.
Samir Ceric notes passionately, “I feel this is just the beginning of a very exciting project which has come out of this unique way of collaborating between Debut artists and art professionals in the industry…One of Debut’s very important roles is to serve as conduits of information and opportunities between the Debut collective and community and the art world at large.”
We’d like to introduce our UK ambassador Nicola Anthony;
– Hi Nicola, what do you enjoy most about being an artist?
It’s enabled me to meet lots of fascinating people and have the most random experiences – staging performances on the Trafalgar Square plinth, being interviewed on sky TV, obsessively making an artwork using 50,000 sugar cube pieces, being accosted by the police for making a study of a postbox in the middle of the night, transporting weird and wonderful objects around London on the tube… a few that spring to mind!
I guess the top thing has to be knowing that I am one of the few to do what I have a passion for doing as a living. I feel lucky to have that.
– What does your artwork say about you?
Well, I think my slightly obsessive nature becomes apparent in the intricate pieces! In my work I use text, stories and voices as sculptural materials – so I ‘draw’ with sentences instead of pencil lines for example. I think my exploration of words and stories through my practice stems from my interest in language, communication and the way we portray ourselves. I also really value truth and honesty and being able to truly understand what goes on in people’s minds.
My work focuses on the small things and how they make up the whole – I guess I’m interested in the beauty in the detail. Some say this is because I’m known for being small myself, and am a firm believer that all good things come in petite packages!
– If you had an unlimited budget what would you make?
I sometimes embed words inside glass. I love glass as a medium, so to have the technical resources and opportunity to make a giant organic, pebble-like glass sculpture that people could climb onto and into to read the whole story would be amazing.
– What’s the best thing about working with DEBUT?
Ooh many things, a lovely part of Debut for me has been the artists I have met and the enthusiastic Debut team, as well as all the experts I have learned from during the seminars.
Being an artist at Debut is fantastic because of the encouragement and motivation to push your career and practice forward, I especially like the freedom to come up with your own event ideas – Debut gives every artist a ‘Saturday Debut’ showcase event, and for mine I decided to be a bit experimental by asking visitors to write a letter to their future selves and be part of an art time capsule.
– What have you learnt whilst working with DEBUT?
There has been so much to gain from the seminars – from learning how to do your finances as an artist to hearing from collectors and auctioneers.
The key things that have shone through are promoting your work, the importance of connections, and surrounding yourself with like minded people. As an artist it is easy to get absorbed into the artwork – and we often forget that it is important to spread the word about the things we are working on!
Social media has also been a massive revelation for me – now I’m using it properly and I gain so much information and inspiration as well as contacts through Twitter and facebook – I proudly flaunt that my followers @nicola_anthony have grown from 0 to over 1000 in the last 6 months.
– Wow! Well done! You recently went to LA for the Flagstop exhibition, how did it feel
to represent London art?
Amazing! I was honoured to be chosen to exhibit in LA, and even more so to be representing London’s amazing art scene. The selected artists who we curated in the space were extremely talented and diverse, giving us a lot to talk about with the visitors who were fascinated by our ‘London Art Box’ micro-gallery.
In the USA we were perceived as real characters – I have to admit we did play up our Englishness a bit by inviting our special visitors over for a ‘tea party’ in our micro-gallery space.
I was also asked to talk on a panel discussion with Bill Moreno (William Moreno Contemporary), Jane Chaffin (Offramp Gallery), Justin Hoover (SOMArts), and Nick Lisica (HUDSON|LINC Gallery Director), which was a wonderful opportunity.
– Did you enjoy the LA experience?
Yes absolutely. I met some very inspirational people and art visionaries, I was surrounded by fantastic artwork, I got to help curate our space, and – very importantly – I was educated on what constitutes a REAL Mexican Taco.
Other highlights included the London Art Box team being invited to dinner and for a viewing of the private art collection of Nick Lisica (the Director of Hudson Linc Gallery), and taken on a tour of the LA art scene by a fantastic artist and curator, Joella March.
We had a fantastic team including other Debut artists Abigail Box, Ryan Noble and Kimi Wylde. It was great fun but also very hard work – we only just made it to the beach, on our last day at midnight! But we’ve had many offers to come back so we will see more next time – I am very much looking forward to the next Debut Contemporary USA showcase at OCCCA in Orange County this December, representing the first museum show for myself and many of the other artists.
– Congratulations on being the first appointed official Debut ambassador! Are you excited?
Thank you, I am indeed!
The debut concept is a fantastic way of helping talented emerging artists to further their careers, and I’m definitely excited to be a part of that. Through my own experience as an artist and my work with the London Artists Collective, I know how challenging it can be. It is also very innovative that the gallery works so closely with artists, breaking down the barriers that sometimes exist – I’m invigorated to be a part of such a new way of working.
– What would you say to future artists looking to join DEBUT?
Debut has brought about a lot of positive things for my career and practice, and I am really looking forward to helping that happen for others as well.
If you are serious about your art career then it’s definitely for you – Debut is a really great opportunity for anyone who is prepared to grab it with both hands and really make something of themselves!