Winsor & Newton is a proud supporter of The Fine Art Collective (TFAC), a global network committed to educating, connecting, and empowering artists the world over.
In this series, we talk to international members of the TFAC network whose passion for art materials and wealth of knowledge enables other artists to push the boundaries of their creativity.
Nick Scrimenti is a painter based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his MFA in two-dimensional media from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to teaching art at Miami University, he leads TFAC workshops across the US, passing on his expert knowledge of Winsor & Newton’s products to eager artists.
Read on to learn more about this self-described “tornado in the studio”, his tips for aspiring artists, and a fascinating experience working with a hoarder.
Tell us a bit about your practice as an artist.
I dabble in lots of different media, but painting is the most practical for my subject matter. It is generally thought of as a two-dimensional media, but with mediums like Winsor & Newton Galeria Flexible Modelling Paste, you can see how thick and clumpy a painting can become. I like getting dirty; I’m like a tornado in the studio.
Recently, I was employed by a hoarder to help him clean and organise his property. It was fascinating and informed the artwork I’ve been making lately. My paintings, drawings and collages investigate the correlation between the process of creating art and the act of hoarding, or cleaning up a hoarder’s mess. Bits of rubbish from around my studio tend to make their way into the works as well, which ties up the reflection.
Why do you paint?
Being an artist has always come naturally to me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawing or making things. Look at my school notebooks and you’ll find more drawings than notes!
What materials do you work with most frequently?
You’ll find me working with Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic, Artists’ Oil Colour, and Professional Watercolour most of the time. I enjoy looking for ways to make them all work together on the same surface, so mediums play a huge role in my toolkit.
Why do you use these materials, and how do they inform your practice?
I don’t like to restrict myself to a single medium because sometimes I’m just not able to get the desired effect with certain paint. Acrylic, for example, is more versatile as there is a wide range of mediums for me to choose from, but I need oil paint as well for its unique, inimitable texture.
My most recent work celebrates the individual paint qualities, and I’ve found I’m highlighting the paint itself more and more.
As a teacher and working artist, what advice do you have for fellow artists wanting to establish a career?
I can’t stress this enough: keep at it. I think I’m one of the only people from my undergraduate class who makes a living through art. Lots of people tend to give up when things get tough, which is a waste of immense talent. Pursuing a career as an artist can lead you down a rough road, but the longer you stick with it and the harder you work, the less competition there will be. That’s my experience, at least.
Share three surprising facts about yourself.
1. For the past month, my hair has been dyed a combination of the colours “Electric Lizard” and “Electric Banana”.
2. Throughout my family history, there were no artists. I’m the first.
3. I’m a magician with a microwave.