Art Student Magazine Autumn 2015 “A Place Of Your Own” by Terri Eaton

Showcasing your artwork in a gallery ranks high on most art students’ to-do lists, but tracking down the perfect one for you can be a challenge. That is, unless you open your own.

Fine art graduate Nicole Porter set up The Nicole Porter Gallery in her hometown of Aberdeen in 2010, just two years after graduating from Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. At the time, the recession was swallowing up employment opportunities in the creative sector and support for the venture was low. “Everyone thought it was a ridiculous idea because the economy was very unstable, but sometimes the bet thing to do is the one thing everyone is telling you not to do,” says the 29-year-old. “It’s a lot of responsibility but if you believe in your own work, then you’ve got to take the risk. It was actually my mum’s idea so I can’t take all the credit.”

Nicole admits she’s not naturally business minded and “winged it” a little when she spoke to the banks about funding, but her drive and determination was unquestionable. She had worked part-time in commercial galleries during her time at art school and knew from experience that she benefited from the interaction with people.

“It’s a welcome break from the solitary activity of being in the studio painting on your own,” says Nicole. “Plus, I get to work with and represent other artists too. Skill and craftsmanship is very important to me in my own work so that’s always been a criteria for selecting artists to exhibit in the gallery.”

Nicole cleverly chose a retail unit positioned by a set of traffic lights, knowing that a beautiful painting could easily catch the gaze of anyone waiting for the lights to change.

The space also doubles up as Nicole’s studio, which has come in handy since the artist began a Masters in Contextualised Practice at Gray’s School of Art. “The course is really appealing to me because it’s about thinking about your work creatively within different contexts, which is especially interesting coming from the point of view of a gallery owner,” she says. “I’m lucky that I can do my Masters full-time because the gallery is family-run and I’ve got everyone roped in to help me. I decided to only show my own work during this period to ease the workload in the gallery, because it wouldn’t be fair to take on other artists if I can’t give them my full attention.”

Nicole is concurrently building a body of work that focuses on communicating societal and political notions. Last year’s Scottish Referendum had a huge impact on her thinking, as her painting Yes or No? demonstrates, and she’s excited to see where this train of thought will tae her. “Yes or No?” was a large piece and there was a lot of work involved but I felt I wanted to put forward my take on this historical moment for democracy,” she says. “It made me think how a painting can be used to help people visualise these ideas and how it can provide another venue for reflection on these occasions.”

Spare moments of quiet relaxation are few and far between for Nicole these days, but that suits her personality. The ability to keep oneself busy and to always have your eyes on the prize is a must, she says if you’re thinking of starting your own gallery.

“You’ve got to be 100% committed to it before you can make it work because it’s hard and challenging,” she says. “If you’re doing it because you’ve got no other options or you can’t think of anything else to then that’s not the way. It’s got to be something you want which I did and still do.”

STV “Political Art Exhibition Inspired By The Referendum Launches” by Victoria Pease

An art exhibition featuring works influenced by the political landscape in Scotland during the Referendum will open in Aberdeen on Friday.

Masters student Nicole Porter will showcase a series of paintings created in the run up to and in the aftermath of the Independence Referendum at the exhibition at Gray’s School of Art.

Amongst the pieces to go on display at the art school is In the Thick of It, a canvas of Union Street overlaid with a painting on glass of a group meeting which has been on display at the debating chamber at Aberdeen’s town house.

Coallusion. pictured below, which depicts the faces of the seven leaders of the major UK parties merged together will also be on display alongside a portrait of former First Minister Alex Salmond, now MP for the Gordon constituency and a scene from a polling station.

Nicole said: “This series of paintings was sparked by the Referendum. I did a painting about the Referendum two years prior to the event and it was all about trying to document the build-up to the vote.

“People were going to have to make a decision on the day and it was a really important one – I wanted to create a piece that could participate in that debate beforehand and the series has developed from there.”

The 29-year-old added: “A painting is timeless and there are going to be future generations that were not here to vote and on whom our decision impacted. The referendum was a historic, as well as a political event, so I wanted to produce work that marks this point in time.”

RGU “Scottish Politics Inspires North-East Artist” by Jenny Rush

A north-east artist is set to unveil a series of work influenced by politics in Scotland around the independence referendum.

Nicole Porter (29), who is currently studying for a Masters in Contextualised Practice at Gray’s School of Art, will showcase a range of paintings she created in the lead up to the referendum as well as after the vote at an exhibition of student work.

The exhibition – ‘C3: Collaborative Contextualised Conversations’ – features the work of current full and part time Masters students at the art school, opening on Friday, September 4 and running until September 11.

Among Nicole’s work is a portrait of former First Minister of Scotland and current MP for Gordon, Alex Salmond. Also on display will be a depiction of a scene outside a polling station, a painting in which the faces of the seven leaders of the major UK parties have started to merge called ‘Coallusion’, and a canvas of an Aberdeen street scene overlaid with a painting on glass of a group meeting, named ‘In the Thick of It’.

‘In the Thick of It’ was on display in the debating chamber of the city’s town house, but is now at Gray’s School of Art for the duration of the exhibition. It is also set to go on display in the Scottish Parliament at the end of year.

Nicole said: “This series of paintings was sparked by the referendum. I did a painting about the referendum two years prior to the event and it was all about trying to document the build-up to the vote.

“People were going to have to make a decision on the day and it was a really important one – I wanted to create a piece that could participate in that debate beforehand and the series has developed from there.”

She added: “A painting is timeless and there are going to be future generations that were not here to vote and on whom our decision impacted. The referendum was a historic, as well as a political event, so I wanted to produce work that marks this point in time.”

Nicole said it was great to see her work in the context of the debating chamber at the city’s town house.

“It was interesting to see all the councillors going up to look at it and the fact that it was there in the decision making heart of the council really helped to bring it to life,” she said.

“I also wanted it to act as a reminder to councillors that culture should be on their agenda and I think it has been successful from that point of view.”

Nicole, who owns her own gallery in Aberdeen, has enjoyed having the space to explore different issues through her work as part of the Masters course.

“I run the gallery and do a lot of portrait commissions and that is what I do on a 9 to 5 basis,” she said. “But it is nice to have other interests and to create work that is not necessarily suitable for selling in the gallery but it is interesting to me.

“The course has been a place where I can test out that work, explore and push things and really get quite deep into the potential that is there.”

Nicole added: “As a group, we have been off doing our own projects throughout the year and when we come together it is really good to catch up and share our ideas and thoughts so I’m really looking forward to the exhibition.

“I think the fact that Aberdeen’s art school offers a Masters course is really important for the city if it is going to be a cultural centre.”

Press and Journal “Artist Draws On Politics” by Stephen Walsh

An Aberdeen artist will have her work displayed in the Scottish Parliament later this year. Nicole Porter, a master’s student at Gray’s School of Art, spent the last year exploring art’s role in politics. The former Ellon Academy pupil, who runs her own studio in King Street, has work on display in Aberdeen City Council’s Town House debating chamber. Her attest piece – In The Thick Of It – which combines canvas with glass, will be hung in the art school from Friday as part of the final-year graduate show. And now the painting has been scheduled to be hung in Holyrood, Edinburgh in December. The 29-year-old – who has the support of Gordon MP Alex Salmond said the turbulent political environment of last year’s referendum inspired her to explore the role art could play n politics and in recording historical events. As part of the project, Ms Porter has put together a range of pieces – including Coallusion, merging all five UK party leaders’ heads together. She added: “The challenge with this latest piece is that part of it is on canvas, while the other section is on glass. The viewer sees themselves in the reflection, which – when its displayed in the Town House and Parliament – almost bring their role into play.” Ms Porter has also stressed both the Town House and the Holyrood display will help underline the importance of culture to politicians. She added: “I’m glad I have achieved this, I think by placing these artworks in these places it acts as a reminder that culture should be on politicians’ agenda.”

Press and Journal “Artist shows political Masters piece” by Jon Hebditch

A north-east artist has been brushing up on her politics with a new painting of the major party leaders.
Nicole Porter, 28, who owns her own gallery in Aberdeen’s King Street, will be displaying the montage from today.
She began work on the piece after the televised seven leaders debate on April 2, basing it on what she deemed to be the most likely coalition outcome of the election.
The artist will be submitting the painting as part of her Masters degree at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen.
She said: “I wanted to create a painting which depicted the views of the undecided voter and that visually represents the potential of a coalition government.
“Nicke Clegg and Cameron are in the centre because they are currently the government. The leaders’ positions on left to right also reflects their political leanings in some ways.”

© 2017 nicole porter | 88 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5BA | This site uses cookies to monitor site use anonymously. By using the site, you agree to our use of cookies. | site design studiohusky