The Empress of All I Survey – Part 3
I was really excited when Nina said she had work in Pembrokeshire for the VC Gallery and was bringing my painting. We met on my terrace on what was fortunately a bright, sunny day and shared an iced drink while we chatted.
I asked Nina Camplin how she had found the process and she told me it was very different from the way she normally works. I had wanted the image to contain symbols that meant something to me – symbols that would not mean anything to anyone else unless I explained them. At one point we had talked about adding one of my poems, but I had decided I wanted the painting to be without anything that might explain it. It was to be mine, with meaning special to me.
That meant talking a lot and letting the image evolve, with some images coming in and then being removed. My hair had of course begun to grow back too (from when I shaved it all off to raise money for the homeless), and I loved the new silvery colour, so I asked for that to be included and said I wanted a different facial expression.
Nina said: “I wouldn’t normally share the work with the person commissioning until it was finished, but this evolved over time and became a collaboration.”
Was that a challenge?
“In some ways, but it was exciting because you were very easy-going and allowed me the freedom to explore. It was unusual in that it took a few weeks, and that can make it difficult to stay in the zone, but each time I came back to it, it was with fresh ideas we had explored.
“I do enjoy working collaboratively. It’s always good to have a project where other people are involved.”
Generally, Nina said, she will compete a work within one or two hits. Even a mural is something she likes to get done in a short period of time.
“Actually covering a wall in a day or so, depending on the surface, is much easier. The smaller detail is of course larger and easier to convey on a large surface. It’s also very satisfying, in a public place, that a lot of people will see and enjoy my work.”
In a lot of Nina’s work she likes to challenge perceptions of space and create scenes of faked realities. She has worked on many art projects all over the UK, receiving commissions from various councils, including Luton, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Poole. She has won also two design awards for her subway murals in Luton. I urge you to check out her work on her website https://ninacamplin.co.uk/.
So my portrait, taking pride of place in my living room now, is a one-off. I do hope Nina is proud of it. I certainly am.