Nigel Reid-Foster: painter, sculptor, ceramicist and maker of curiosities,
based on the West Coast of Scotland.
I’ve always made things, always painted, drawn, crafted. Some of my earliest memories are of making stuff from whatever was at hand, at home, at school, anywhere.
Primary school:  There was an enormous, tattered, cardboard box sat on a long table at the very back of my classroom. It was filled to the brim with all sorts of treasure, disassembled bits and pieces of all manner of mechanical and electrical devices, great tangles of multicoloured electrical cable and wire, nuts, blots, knobs and dials. It was known (worryingly perhaps for our parents) as the explosion box, a treat in the afternoons for those who had behaved in class, was to be allowed to set our imagination free and build whatever crazy assemblages we could from these random parts
Being more of a practical type than academic at school, it was clear that I would not continue the familial trend to become a writer (three generations of writers precede me). Rather I would focus my creativity in a more material manner. I won school prizes now and again for things like art and craft, creative stuff, but I hated school and school hated me, I couldn’t get out soon enough. 
Having left school early I found myself without the necessary support to complete a successful application for art school. Consequentially, apart from senior school art classes I have had little formal art education - a short course studying graphic design at Glasgow School of Art really doesn’t count (great to have been there though, if only briefly). I am mostly self taught, learning as I go along, my whole process is about learning - experimenting - developing.
From school I went to work in Scottish Opera’s set construction and property workshops. Theatrical  design and construction employs a wide range of craft disciplines and I soaked up as much practical knowledge as I could from the highly skilled craftsmen whom I worked with there. Later, capitalising on knowledge gained, I established a photographic practice specialising in theatrical work.
Then came a complete change in direction and for many years creative work took a sideline as family and home commitments took priority over my artistic endeavours. Although I never stopped making, it was to be another 15 years or so before I was able to fully return to my artistic career.
Three enduring interests have become recurring themes running through the majority of my work: Typography and text, in whatever guise, not so much for it’s content or meaning but for it’s fundamental shape and form.  Decay and dereliction for the fabulous texture, form and colour created by such processes. And anything even remotely relating the sea.
My work is continually evolving as I explore new ideas and processes, moving from one medium to another, never standing still.
Some recent work takes the form of small two-dimensional mixed medium pieces. drawing on elements of decaying/discarded materials and found words/symbols. Images formed by laying down multiple transparent and opaque layers interleaved with digital images and collage.
Other newer work explores ceramics. Using ancient firing techniques I am attempting to control the primeval processes by which the raw heat of the flame and the smoke and ash combine to form unique surface texture and colour.
Back to Top