Nic West was until recently a Cambridge-based painter who decided to sell all of her belongings and move to Alderney last year. Inspired by artists including Anselm Kiefer, Louise Bourgeois, William Congdon and Mark Rothko, she creates abstract visceral oil paintings full of texture inspired by the brutality and beauty of her surroundings as well as the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Working primarily in turquoise and gold, she has shunned brushes and applies paint to her canvasses directly from the tube and using knives.
What made you up sticks?
I needed a big change. I’d got stuck in a rut, having spent too many years working long days in office jobs with a three hour commute. I’d also had a challenging couple of years since leaving a long term relationship.
I’d visited the island in 2014, it seemed like the perfect location for a new start. It has beautiful quiet beaches, an interesting history and a simple lifestyle. I think it’s a love it or hate it kind of place and it got under my skin. After selling all my belongings I moved from Cambridge to Alderney in January 2015.
What is it that inspires you each day?
My location, the panoramic sea views, doing what I love, plus the determination to succeed (and of course not wanting to return to a 9-5)!
What advice would you give to people considering a move like yours?
Go for it, step outside your comfort zone, believe in yourself. If you really want to do something you’ll find a way. The week before I was due to move I was terrified, I tried to back out of it because like most people I feared the unknown but once I arrived I realised taking the risk was the best thing I’ve done.
Is there anything you miss?
Friends and family (it’s expensive to get on and off the island, plus some aren’t too keen about having to make the journey on the tiny prop planes), and I miss the variety which comes from living in a city.
Where can people next see your work?
News, commissions and contact details are available via my website www.nicwest.co.uk