Nick Holdsworth

In 1998, Nick set up his own fashion label, ‘Purple Om / Random’ a cult T-shirt brand that was sold in high end department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Liberty’s, Collette in Paris and Barney’s in Tokyo. He has also worked on collaborations with Levis Red-Japan, Eliminator-Japan, Block 60-Italy, Griffin Studio-UK, and Harvey Nichols. Nick cites himself as one of the first designer T-shirt label brands building upon the ’90s obsession with psychedelic images and youth culture.

When Nick’s unique techniques and style gained interest from the art industry he began to explore ways to express his love of fashion and culture through fine art. His design background, digital skills and years of experimenting led to him producing the breath-taking mixed–media artworks he is known for now. Freddie Mercury’s sister and Brian May both hold Nick’s portraits of Freddie in their private collections.

Nick starts by choosing an image to work with and then manipulates it using a pixilation process- this is a technique that requires vigilant control over the placement of each individual pixel (of which there are hundreds in each image). He then overlays the pixilation with the repetition of a symbol or icon that he associates with the chosen image. Then he adjusts the scale of these icons to enhance the definition of the overall subject and finishes off by airbrushing and inking to add colour and tone, thereby introducing a hand finished and original element to each piece. 

This rather modern process contrasts the nostalgia of his images. Nick is inspired by musical legends of his youth, and time spent flicking through his mother’s fashion magazines as a child. This unexpected combination evokes emotional depth, occasional wit, and a surprisingly vintage style for something so contemporary. 

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