Recreating a child's enjoyment of creating their own adventures with figurines and imagination, Nigel's artworks allow us to revisit the awe and wonder of our younger years. His adorable miniature paintings capture some of the world's most iconic characters, from Marvel and DC Comics superheroes to real-life music stars and the cast of the Star Wars saga.
Nigel Humphries' 2022 collection sees him returning to the DC universe with Gotham City Suite, focusing on Batman and his infamous foes.
Passionate about revolutionising the way we view still-life painting, Nigel draws upon his childhood for inspiration. He hopes to spread happiness through his work and admires artists such as the American painter Norman Rockwell, the comic book artist Alex Ross and the English illustrator Arthur Rackham.
After capturing superheroes and villains like Wonder Woman, Black Panther and the Joker, Nigel turned his focus to music stars for his Mixtape collection. Researching outfits, poses and unique features (including Freddie Mercury's chest hair!), he created a spectacular line-up that includes everything from pop to rock 'n' roll. Nigel says: “Small figures are always fun, no matter what genre. It’s tapping into musical tastes and creating a sense of nostalgia by revealing the musical scenes of different eras."
His two most recent collections, A New Hope and Episode II, explore George Lucas' Star Wars saga. Featuring some of the series' best-loved characters - including Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Yoda and Darth Vader - these intergalactic artworks reflect Nigel's life-long love of Star Wars. He explains: "I remember when I watched the first film [Star Wars (Episode IV) (1977)] for the first time, I was blown away by the storyline, the character design, the world-building and the special effects. I knew it was something unique, and it set the bar for all of the sci-fi films that came afterwards."
Nigel's small-scale artworks are fantastic for budding art collectors or as a gift, particularly if you have any awkward wall spaces that need refreshing. He says: “I like my smaller-sized artworks, as not everyone has the wall space for big pieces. They’re a nice size to collect and enjoy.”
We took a behind-the-scenes tour of Nigel's studio for our Fine Art Collector magazine, and we couldn't help but be slightly jealous! After cuddling his two rescue greyhounds, we were escorted to his purpose-built studio in the back garden, where he has a cabinet full of Funko Pop characters and a drum kit to rest his easel on.
To capture the energy of his famous personas, Nigel watches videos and researches costumes and photography. He also listens to a 'top hits' playlist of each artist for inspiration. Details such as creases, moustaches and facial expressions are captured using fine brushwork.
For each piece, he sets up a miniature theatre stage with crumpled paper for the backdrop and the star of the show lit up in the centre. The initial layout is outlined on the canvas in willow charcoal before oil paint is applied onto a fine-grain linen canvas panel.
His new Star Wars themed series has allowed him to experiment with a range of finishes and textures. He explains: "I enjoy painting the stormtroopers because with this new series, I’ve changed the technique slightly and I’m painting with thicker coats of paint and a more impasto technique as it lends itself well to the armour. I like the stormtroopers to look like they’ve just come back from a skirmish, so they’re a bit battleworn."
Want to find out more? Catch up on on our magazine feature here.
Featuring a convoy of Star Wars’ best-known characters – including Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Darth Vader – Nigel Humphries is back for spring 2021 with his latest collection, A New Hope!
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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