Nic Joly

Born: 1973
Lives and works: London
Education: Winchester School of Art
Exhibitions: The Writing's on the Wall (2019), Life's a Carnival (2017), Being Human (2016), 141 Days (2016)
“My fascination with creating small sculptures inspired by the theatre of life has grown into an absolute obsession. No area of life is safe!”

What began as Nic Joly's hobby has transformed into a passion for sculpting minute depictions of everyday life. His thought-provoking sculptures ask the questions we are too scared to pose ourselves.

Inspiration

Nic's artistic career was born in a stained glass and metal workshop. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, the former furniture designer explored his own unique style and began to create his tiny figurines. Each one is made from wire, paper and clay, with the sculptor recently turning his hand to LED technology and 3D printing.

Placed in their own little universes, his tiny characters offer viewers an intimacy akin to peering through the windows into a stranger’s life. Interspersing autobiographical elements with wry observations and a healthy dose of swear words, he exposes taboos to get to the truth of how we really feel.

Humorous depictions of sex, love and all of the vices of the modern world are combined with thought-provoking explorations of subjects such as mental health and war. To date, he has raised over £80,000 for The Royal British Legion through the sale of his ‘Never Forgotten’ sculpture, which commemorates the fallen soldiers of World War One.

Nic says: “In my own small way, I strive to create my own worlds to ask and bring to the forefront the dilemmas and questions that we all feel day-to-day, as well as highlight the madness around us.”

Nic's latest collection is inspired by the NHS and acts of kindness during COVID-19. Find out more here

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Inside the world of Nic Joly

All of Nic's figures are carved as originals in wire and plaster before being cast in solid bronze using the lost-wax process. Also known as cire perdue, this is a method of metal casting whereby a molten metal is poured into a mould that has been created with a wax model. Once the mould is created, the wax model is melted and drained away.

When dry, they are sanded down (either with a belt sander or a teeny-tiny strip of sandpaper) and cleaned before being hand-painted. The scaffolding is brazed with a blowtorch to create texture and a natural colour definition before being cut out of the thin plywood. Once Nic has all of the necessary parts, he can begin the painstaking construction. 

Nic says: "I am fascinated with the little details of our lives. My work is about celebrating the small, yet important, parts we all play in the evolution of the world.” 

His new original artworks are even more elaborate, with each one containing a heat sensor that controls the tiny LED lights. Nic explains: "This may seem simple, but it took two years of testing and making to get this to work. A computer chip has to be individually coded for each sculpture so the heat sensor reacts when you walk up to the artwork."

From the blog

Celebrating 25 years of Castle Fine Art!

It's our 25th year on the British high street, and we couldn't have done it without you! We were thrilled to receive some videos and personalised artworks from our artists. Click to watch our compilation!

Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2020

Download the newest issue of our magazine for exclusive launch sneak peeks, video content and art news. Plus in this special 25th anniversary edition, we reveal our best moments so far.

Magazines and brochures

Fine Art Collector | 2020

Showcasing the very best of our artworks, along with behind-the-scenes updates and interviews, the new issue of our Fine Art Collector magazine is a must-read!

Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2019

Showcasing the very best of our artworks, along with behind-the-scenes updates and interviews, the new issue of our Fine Art Collector magazine is a must-read!

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