Sale artist Sophie Nixon is inspired by the big city lights of Manchester after dark.
That is a recurring theme in her latest exhibition – Comme Ca Art – at The Lowry Hotel.
Sophie graduated with a degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne before returning to Manchester and commencing a career in recruitment. In 2004, she returned to her first love of painting and has been building her career in art ever since. “Initially I continued my interest in abstract painting until a very close friend became ill in 2006 and I painted a scene of Manchester to cheer her up. My obsession with painting evocative night scenes and isolated buildings has evolved ever since.
“Colour is incredibly important in my work. I work with a fairly limited palette and am adamant that I couldn’t paint Manchester without Prussian Blue and Indian yellow! Both of those colours perfectly describe the sulphuric light and dark night sky in Manchester.”Whilst drawing on life and her circumstance, Sophie is also inspired by other painters, primarily the works of Hopper, Lowry and Rothko and has been more recently introduced to the work of Jock McFadyen and Ben McLaughlin.
Having worked out of Bankley Art Studios in Levenshulme for seven years she has recently built a studio in her garden. Her paintings are inspired by her life, the conflict between her busy career and social life in Manchester and the slower pace of the time she gets to paint and travel around Italy where her father now lives and across Europe. These two sides to her are played out in the dramatically different styles of painting; vivid representations of the buildings and people that form her city scapes, capturing the essence of the sulphur lights and blurred visions of a Manchester night to the sublimely calm, bright sunlight casting shadows on a lone building or figure. Whichever scene Sophie is painting she is always drawn to a particular person or event.
Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at Arison’s Gallery in Chorlton, The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, The Augenweide Gallery in Muenster, The White Gallery in Bollington, Novus Art Gallery in Didsbury, Bankley Open Studios Levenshulme, The Chorlton Arts Festival and Sale Waterside Open.
“My last solo show with Comme Ca Art was in 2012 and since then I have been working with Jo Lavelle to create the Sale Arts Trail and the work that I have created for the trail has been more commercial. I have also had a baby during this time. This exhibition has been a huge opportunity for me to complete and show the larger work I have been secretly working on since this time. Claire and her team at Comme Ca are fantastic curators, knowing exactly which pieces to select and where to place them. The Lowry Hotel is a great venue with excellent lighting. It is also an opportunity to show my work in a space with a fantastic footfall, we had the preview last Friday and Tom Jones wandered through on his way to the restaurant!”
“We moved to Sale from the city centre in 2001 when we fell in love with our beautiful Victorian home knowing little about the area. In the past 16 years we have found the locals friendly and the amenities great. I have always felt that Sale offered beautiful housing and didn’t understand why it didn’t have the kudos of living in areas such as Didsbury or Altrincham.
”Amongst other reasons this was why we set up the Arts Trail, there is a plethora of talented artists and craft people in this town and their skills deserve to be celebrated. We hope that our trail brings our artist and wider community together and provides a fun event that is interesting and thought provoking for all age groups. I remember one year when a trail visitor came into my garden with her wide eyed young daughter who had just met the glass maker Gemma Truman and was in awe of the heat glass has to reach to melt. It was amazing to see that our artists may inspire young children. It is also a huge accolade that the trail was recently name checked as one of the reasons Sale was voted fourth best place to live in the UK!”
You can see Sophie’s paintings at The Lowry Hotel – Comme Ca Art until the 28th November.