Nic Joly

Born: 1973
Lives and works: Hampshire
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. The British artist's 3D wall sculptures tackle topics like love, sex, mental health and war in a touching and humorous way. His new #365 collection includes a customisable edition, along with an artwork featuring a real duck eggshell!

Inspiration

Nic's artistic career was born in a stained glass and metal workshop. Inspired by the European painters 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 in his Hampshire studio, with Nic recently turning his hand to LED technology and 3D printing. A wizard of mediums, he has experimented with everything from Japanese inks to toilet roll, acrylics, soil and glitter to bring his miniature scenes to life. 

Interspersing autobiographical elements with wry observations and a healthy dose of swear words, the sculptor's limited edition and original sculptures expose taboos to get to the truth of how we really feel. Humorous depictions of the vices of the modern world are combined with touching 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.

His 65 Weeks collection reveals his thoughts, observations and emotions following the announcement of the UK COVID-19 lockdown. They are both humorous – including a raunchy sex scene and the frenzy of panic-buying toilet roll – and poignant, exploring Nic’s struggle with depression and the love he feels for his wife and children. He says: “This is the most ambitious release I’ve ever done and also the most personal collection I’ve ever created. I wanted to do something hopeful."

Released in October 2021, his new #365 series includes a party-themed artwork with customisable Perspex letters that can be mixed and matched to create a truly unique piece. Nic says: "You can choose how you want the piece to look, and I will make it for you and only you. Each artwork is completely unique. I can’t wait to see all of the different ways you think of!"

Shop Nic's #365 collection here

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Inside the world of Nic Joly

If you missed our recent  IGTV video series (catch up here), you'll have seen inside Nic's enviable studio. It is here in the leafy suburbs of Hampshire that 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, which can include installing anything from LED lights to replica mobile phones. 

For his 65 Weeks collection, Nic experimented with Japanese inks and glitter to capture his tumultuous emotions and wry observations following Boris Johnson's announcement of a UK COVID-19 lockdown. Describing the series as his "most personal" collection yet, he adds: "When we all woke up on 23rd March 2020, none of us could really understand how our whole world was about to change forever. I had time to think, to grow what I believed in, and to look at ideas I had never had the time to look at before."

His #365 release saw him fashion tiny disco balls from polysterene and plaster; each one was dipped and primed five times before it was covered in glitter and lacquered. Every egg was bleached before he pierced it with an electric drill, removing fragments with a pair of tweezers. The words 'We are all fragile' were printed onto water transfer paper and applied to the egg before it was dried so Nic could paint over the words by hand, while the customisable mirrored acrylic letters were designed by Nic and are cut with a laser cutter before being hand-polished.

Find out more about the collection here. We'll also be revealing the latest news from the studio on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. 

From the blog

Customise your Nic Joly artwork: 'Out Out' and the #365 collection

Made to order at his Hampshire studio, this handcrafted edition features customisable letters that are available in any combination of six colours. 

"My most personal collection": 65 Weeks by Nic Joly

Available in an extremely limited edition of 65, the British sculptor's ten new handmade 3D wall sculptures encompass his thoughts, feelings and observations in the weeks following the announcement of a UK lockdown.

Magazines and brochures

Fine Art Collector | Spring 2021

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 | 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!

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