Collection: Nick Mair

Nick has a learning disability and lives in Ipswich. He paints with Stella, a local artist, who he has been working alongside (and eating chocolate with!) for around ten years. The two have a great sense of camaraderie; Stella is there to help with drawing, colour mixing and some of the more awkward elements of painting but mainly as company and conversation. Nick chooses the content and cuts out shapes in order to compose his pieces, before beginning to paint. The humour of his paintings are a reflection of Nick, of his lively personality and wit.

Picture of disabled artist Nick Mair working on a painting, leaning over the canvas. Head down. He has a dark brown hair and beard, wears glasses and a grey jumper. Disabled artist Nick Mair painting. Head quite close to the canvas as he paints, holding the paint brush. Nick has brown hair and beard. He wears glasses.

Nick paints on the dining room table, at the centre of the house. He notes that his painting time begins very quietly but as time elapses and people return home, the house fills with more people and more noise, creating a buzz around him and his work. He likes this time, to share his work with others and show what he has achieved.

Nick’s paintings are inspired by animals and wildlife, especially birds. These can be from wildlife magazines but also visits to different places, particularly Scotland, where Nick’s father lives. The rugged Scottish landscape has imbued in him a love of wild deer and highland cattle.

Nick’s ability to focus and concentrate on a task have improved markedly through his art. He has also gained considerable confidence from selling his work. Seeing that his skills are appreciated and enjoyed is very meaningful.

“It makes me happy [to sell my work].  It’s nice that people know that I do art now.”

Stella says, “Nick is a big character!” and Nick’s life reflects this. Nick loves to paint and work with Stella, but he also enjoys being part of the L’Arche Ipswich community, playing computer games, watching football games, volunteering in the Cats Protection charity shop, looking after his guinea-pigs (of which there are four) and going out for a beer with friends. It seems there’s never a dull moment when Nick is around.

Welcome aboard Nick, we are very pleased to have you as one of the rabble.