Birkenhead based artist Nigel Leslie has been selected as 1 of 100 important artists to decorate an old £5 note for a charity auction. Names already signed up include the Chapman Brothers, Gilbert and George, Gavin Turk, Liverpool’s iconic Peter Blake in addition to Cyrano Denn aka Danny Crone.
‘Fivers for Artistic’ is a bright new charity set up to help mentor new young artists to overcome barriers and become self-sustaining within the art world. Fivers for Artistic said:
‘The aim of “FIVERSFORARTISTIC” is to collect 100 old fivers and convince important contemporary artists to sign and then decorate the fiver in any way they wish making the note completely original. Artistic will then auction the collection of fivers to raise enough money to launch Artistic as a CIO charity.’
‘Artistic’ the charity behind ‘Fivers for Artistic’ is a wonderful charity ran by volunteers to build creative communities and support artist’s, many of the participants are autistic.
Leslie spent the mid-nineties studying in the Capital, falling in with the Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn and Damien Hirst crowd that centred around St Martins. After a decade of hard parties, sofa loafing and at times making some Art. He returned to Liverpool in 1999. Through his abstracts, he combines figurative forms which play strong relation to the environment in which they are placed. Indications of human forms appear to effortlessly wiped onto the canvases. Some imply elements of bone structure and skull forms, weapon like straight edged are often added. The simplicity of the often brightly coloured environments which the figures have been placed often suggest disturbance. ‘Wrecked’, one of Leslie’s latest works was created last year and reflective of the emotive relationship which is played out within the Metropolis, directing us towards feelings of turmoil. We get the impression of a ship like for from the base, an indication of an old-fashioned wind powered, sailing vessel. Central to the ship there is an indication of a central figure, possible a human form of even a feline based creature. The pink tones of the water suggest a blood, combined with a simple line of the horizon they are not intrusive in regards to the central focus. The title ‘Wrecked’ looks at the idea of awakening from a night of drinking and general misadventure suffering the consequences and deciphering what had happened the evening previous evening.
On Thursday morning the postman posted a prominent package for Leslie: the old fiver had finally been delivered. So in fitting with Leslie’s creative practice when asked how he was intending to decorate the well-worn note:
‘Not sure yet.’
was an appropriate response. Like his studio application techniques where he cements on layers of paints then scrapes them off to imply rather than dictate a clear vision we will have to wait and see what emerges on the paper money base.
Nigel Leslie a true Liverpool talent and an old £5 note which will be immortalised for future generations when currency only exists in the electronic format.