Nick Mobbs won the Grand Prize and One Thoresby Street Prize after being selected to exhibit in the Nottingham Castle Open 2013. Nick is currently undertaking his residency at One Thoresby Street, Nottingham, which houses a collection of galleries, project spaces and studios to meet the needs of all manner of practicing artists. From within the building Trade, Attic and Triple OG execute bold exhibitions and events programmes working with local, national and international artists, writers and curators. Nicholas Mobbs is the second recipient of the One Thoresby Street Prize since 2012. His residency will spawn a ‘lightbox’ piece that is to be exhibited on the outside of the prominent studio and gallery complex, located in Nottingham’s ‘Creative Quarter’. On visiting Nick in his studio the function of his residency became very apparent. Mobb's lectures in Fine Art at the University of Nottingham and De Montfort University, Leicester and typically carries out his well-established practice from home or at the Leicester Print Workshop. For him, having the opportunity to work in a larger studio has been very beneficial.
"I’ve been surprised by how much it has helped because I’ve worked with a small space and have been making prints out of a print workshop in Leicester for years, but this has made a big difference just to go right I’ve got this far best stick it on a wall. I’ve found making decisions a lot quicker”.
And knowing he will be creating a piece for the buildings lightbox has provided the artist with an outlet that best suits his method of working.
“I have that in the back of my mind but I’ve tried not to have that as an end goal, I think part of what I’ve wanted out of this process is not having an end product, it’s just being here to use the space and see what happens”.
Nick’s practice is focused around why people might hide themselves and what happens when they do. Since starting his residency he has begun working with a new method of production and using pattern and half tones in the work.
"Basically the themes are the same but my engagement with the issues and the images is a bit different, I wanted to bring in a few ideas that had been going around in my head for a while”.
One Thoresby Street has two floors of studios housing visual artists, curators and performers. The residency has led way to both formal and casual critiques and discussions, giving other studio residents the chance to learn more about Nick’s practice, and for him to become aware of those working around him. For many artists it is important to exhibit, but to also be selective and apply for projects that fit their practice and situation. Nick affirms that “everyone should look for opportunities that are going to suit them. I probably only go for 3 or 4 things a year. There are hundreds of opportunities out there so the key is deciding which ones to go for”. It was also promising to hear that Nick would apply to the Castle Open again in the future. When discussing with Nick what led to him submitting work for the Nottingham Castle Open 2013 he cited two principle factors.
"I liked Emily Speeds work; I have been looking at her for a number of years, so seeing her as selector caught my attention, as well as having seen the calibre of work in previous exhibitions. It’s also hung well so you get to see all the work yet it can also stand on its own”.
Mobbs’ work will be on display in One Thoresby Street’s lightbox later this year, and One Thoresby Street is yet again supporting the Nottingham Castle Open for 2014 by contributing a prize to our impressive list of opportunites.
Colette Griffin Exhibitions & Visual Arts Assistant Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery