Nick studied at Swansea School of Art and Design and secured his first solo show in an art gallery in 1989. He is now widely recognised as one of Wales’ most accomplished artists and his work is widely sought after. He regularly shows his work in galleries in Swansea, Cardiff and London and some of his paintings have been bought by the National Library of Wales.
His early work depicted scenes of traditional Welsh life and landscapes such as streets of terraced houses, similar to the area where he was brought up. More recently, he has started to incorporate people in his paintings, conveying the life of the communities in which he lives. With his interest in capturing scenes of gritty Welsh life, he has become known as a chronicler of urban life in post-industrial South Wales.
Art critics have compared his depictions of everyday life to artists such as L S Lowry. Whilst he mainly paints in blues and greys, he often uses small touches of red in his paintings within a boy’s football shirt or a red sail on a boat, perhaps to draw the eye of the viewer into the painting.
“The influences of my work are drawn from places I have experienced. My fascination lies with old walls, urban and industrial, their aterials and their eventual decay. The effect of the elements air, fire, earth and water. I am fascinated by the ageing processes: surfaces weathered, worn eroded and sometimes burnt – their history encapsulated. The process I use invloves staining, scratching and scoring the surfaces with incised lines that cut through, sometimes revealing what lies beneath.
Our life experiences are unique and our reponse to imagery is always personal and transient. I aim to create work that draws the viewer into an atmosphere, a sense of place and an awakening of memories that create and encourage an evolving response to their emotions. Painting is a theraputic process for me, in them I seek a time and place beyond that which can be captured in words.”
Martin Llewellyn was born in Neath in 1963. He is a self taught artist and enjoys painting scenes from the surrounding area, mainly landscapes and seascapes, in oil and water colour. Martin has had two successful exhibitions in Swansea since 2010.
“It is my aim, with my work, to express the ephemeral beauty and wonderful nature of light. Whether it be an intimate, solitary portrait, a joyous group study, or a sun-kissed landscape, it is the actual light falling upon the subject that has inspired me to paint. I hope to portray the very essence, and thus, the truth, of a particular moment in each of my works, be it a quiet, intimate study or an energetic beach scene.
I endeavour to recollect all of the feelings experienced at that time, in accordance with Proust’s message in his epic masterwork, A la recherche di temps perdu, whereby the meaning of Art lies in the power of memory to recapture the past. Through both the chromaticism and the tonaility of light, I relish what Monet called ‘the cushion of atmosphere’, and passionately strive to imbue all my work with such vivid sensation.”
From an early age Matthew studied art, learning the basics in infancy and winning competitions in primary school.
Much time has passed and experience gained on travels to Romania and (during the war) to Bosnia as an aid worker and war artist. He studied fine art at Carmarthen College of Technology and Art and then completed a Batchelor of Arts Honors degree in Fine Art painting and drawing at Swansea Institute University of Wales. After those four years he spent a further year studying towards a Master of Arts in visual communication, specialising in architecture and perspective. The most frequent artists in Matthew’s library include John Piper, David Gentleman, Marc Chagall and Amadeo Modigliani. His work is held in private collections in Swansea, London and Oxford.
Rhona has been a batik artist since the late 1970′s, having qualified as a specialist secondary art teacher from Swansea College of art. She has been exhibiting regularly since then with work in public and private collections throughout the world. Rhona specialises in images of Welsh life, such as, Rugby players, chapels, street scenes and more recently beach culture.
John Upton trained at Swansea and Cardiff colleges of Art, achieving a 1st Class Honours degree in ceramics. He taught Art in comprehensive schools for 20 years before taking up the post of Education Officer at Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. After 15 very successful years of working with school children in the Gallery, John decided to retire early and dedicate more time to his own artwork. John is a figurative artist who sees his paintings as visual storytelling, based on his personal, sometimes humorous view of life in and around his home town of Swansea.
Peter Ross is a Welsh artist living in England and currently producing paintings about his childhood in South Wales in the 1950’s and 60’s. Peter’s work has been mostly narrative-based or representational, with one abstract phase immediately after leaving art college. In recent years his interest has returned to his childhood and his memories of Newport, South Wales. These paintings are based on family and archive photographs, memories, research and other influences like Dylan Thomas.
Mixed Media artist.
Marcus was born in Swansea and grew up in Gower. Studied at Plymouth College of Art and has worked in the media industry for over 25 years. His home and studio are in Mumbles Swansea.
With a keen interest in studio pottery, Marcus has always been fascinated with natural textures, and how he can incorporate the patterns and abstract qualities found in nature into his art. Marcus’ latest art project sees him collect photographic textures from the Gower coastline to montage with his bold, graphic drawing style.” Each photographic texture element within my work has its own unique and abstract quality. Flat blocks of solid colour are used as contrast, often in order to bring out the textures’ luminous qualities.
The lines of minerals apparent in pebbles and rocks and the natural patterns they make are the source of inspiration for the textured lines i use in my work”.
Barrie J Davies
Elwyn Thomas (RCA)
“I have my roots in the village of Tylorstown in the Rhonda Fach, but for the past eleven years I have lived in Trealaw in the Rhondda Fawr. I received my training at Cardiff College of Art where I pursued a course in illustration.
After qualifying in July 1953 I took up a an art teaching post at a grammer school in Rochester, Kent. This was followed, five years later by a teaching post from which i retired in July 1987. As a result of my commitment to teaching, little time was seriously given to painting during this preiod. However, since retirement I have devoted most of my time to painting and recording the landscape of Rhondda, portraying the fractional views of the valleys with sheep, slopes and winding roads and row after row of terraced houses, and of course the Chapels.”
Muriel is a figurative painter working in oils on canvas or board. Her paintings have as their settings the beach and the sea, which she can see clearly from her studio window. Expressionist in style, her grey, green palette reflects the often wet shores of Cardigan Bay and the village of Borth where she has lived for over 30 years. She captures the way people interact with the elements of nature. Vulnerable yet determined, her stylised figures act out their lives for us and we empathise with their situations.
Peter was born in Pembrokeshire in 1970 and is a self-taught artist. Peter started painting in the 1990′s following his studies in architecture. His images were mainly washes of colour over his meticulous pen and ink drawings. His style has changed over the years but he has always been drawn by the lines created by buildings, the broken and blistering paint on windows and the shadows they cast across our landscape. He has developed a technique to his painting werein he utilises paint brushes and pallet knives to create thick yet smooth surfaces.
Born; London 1981 to an Israeli mother and Welsh father, now living in Wales. Joshua took a year off whilst in university to travel, documenting many cities across the globe, New york, Chicago, Hong Kong and Australia feature in his colourful, semi-abstract compositions. Joshua has exhibited in mixed exhibitions in the past.
John works with glass on a daily basis as a stained glass artist having studied at the Welsh School of Architectural Glass in Swansea. Whilst studying he developed an interest in incorporating fused glass in his panels, this interest has lead to John producing items for the gallery which allow him to detach from the strictness of stained glass. His work is based on patterns in nature as he’s lucky to have a rural aspect in Ystradgynlais where he lives and works. This style is often abstract in its nature as he allows the glass to dictate what he is going to produce.
Alys studied at Swansea College of Art and Design, achieving two Distinctions and a Distinction*, for two years she has been working here at the Nick Holly Gallery, the family business. Alys is working in a tight illustrative and graphic style, her portraits in pencil have proved very popular gaining private commissions for her work.
Ieuan Layton Matthews
Born 10/10/40 Cardiff South Wales.
Lived in fathers home town Bargoed till 1943.
Moved to Gowerton mothers home village near Swansea.
Secondary education at St. Michaels Bryn Llanelli then Gowerton Boys Grammar School.
Showed flair and interest in art under the very capable instruction of Archie Williams.
Further education followed- having been accepted at Swansea Cardiff Loughborough and Bath Academy of Art, the latter was chosen. Painting was the main subject taken under the tuition of Howard Hodgkin and Robyn Denny, Hodgkin having interviewed Ieuan as a prospective student at the Academy. The intermediate exam in the second year and the Diploma in Design in the fourth year were followed by a year at the Institute of Education University of London obtaining an Art Teachers Diploma.