Surfer Nick Williams nominated for a Major Art Award
Nicholas Charles Williams (Nick to his friends) is a regular in the line up at Fistral, Newquay where he lives and works. In between surf sessions Nick has developed a career as a painter and this month has been shortlisted for a major art award, the Threadneedle Figurative Art Prize. The award offers two significant prizes with the chance to win a total of £35,000.
Nick took up surfing when he was twelve, learning at Harlyn Bay and Constantine on the North coast of Cornwall. He settled in Newquay around 1980 and in his twenties often competed, eventually becoming a surf judge on BSA and Pro/Am events, the highlight being judging the Hot Tuna 1992 ASP event won by Mark Occhilupo. As a painter he should have been making the Grand Tour. Instead, like most surfers, he spent winters travelling to various surf spots including California and Australia. During the winter of ‘86 he made the pilgrimage to Hawaii with director of UKPSA Dave Reed, where they both nearly drowned.
When travelling Nick always carried his sketchbook and pursued his painting. For the last twelve years he has used, as his permanent studio, Newquay’s former lifeboat station which overlooks little Fistral and the legendary big wave spot the Cribber. He has exhibited widely, with solo shows at the Russell-Cotes Museum & Art Gallery, Bournemouth; Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro; St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh and Liverpool Cathedral for the opening of the European Capital of Culture. In 2001 he was awarded the Hunting Art Prize.
On the British art scene he is renowned for direct observational painting, often on a large scale. Less known, however, is the fact that he uses the local people of Newquay as his models. One early work featured Lee Bartlett, (twice British Professional Champion) and another was a portrait of Grishka Roberts (twice European Professional Champion) - the painting was later bought by the distinquished art critic Brian Sewell.
Threadneedle Figurative Prize will be awarded to the artist who receives the largest share of public votes - cast online and by visitors to the exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London. To vote and to view the shortlist aong with Nick’s work go to www.threadneedlefigurativeprize.com/voting