In my comings and goings in the fashion industry I meet many interesting people, and Nick Turner is one of them. He is a photographer, a painter and an illustrator with a passion for horses, women and the nature.
Rather young but with a truly moving body of work, Nick never ceases to amaze me.
Have a read at THIS interview I did with him for Look Books.
Nick Turner, His Horses and His Muses
Born in a family where the matriarch was an artist and in which both parents also had the artistic vein, Nick Turner was surrounded by art and artistic expression, these are the things that make him who is is today. Born in Boston, Nick grew up in Maine and was home schooled until the age of fifteen. His next adventure was to be in France to continue his studies, where he remained until he concluded his Baccalaureate at the International School of Toulouse.
Nick was fortunate enough to be accepted into Parsons Paris campus so he packed his bags and moved to the city of lights. During his attendance at Parsons, Nick developed a long and debilitating depression and found solace in his art work. It was at that time that he came to meet the photographer Francois Rousseau, who was then working on the book called “Atelier”, inspired by Patrick Grainville’s novel “L’Atelier du Peintre”. Rousseau cast Nick as one of the main characters in this photography book, playing the role of the tortured artist, which was a natural fit for Turner. Rousseau and Nick developed a great friendship/mentorship that made Nick realize that art was a passion that should be seriously pursued.
Shortly after that, Nick moved to New York to conclude his studies at Parsons. Arriving in the Big Apple was a shock, Nick had never set foot in the city and was impressed by its speed, with cars, lights, people and noises coming from all sides, he recalls “walking in the shadow of so many tall buildings and places only seen in films”; his life felt like a movie.
In New York Nick’s work took flight and and caught the attention of the right people. Nick started shooting models in the style he likes best, raw, natural and most of the time, surrounded by nature. In constant development, his work continues to move and attract the eyes of the most influential people in the city, like the Clic Gallery, who currently holds some of Nicks photographs in their Manhattan and East Hampton locations.
Mr. Turner is currently working on his second solo exhibition and his first book project, all raw and natural, as he likes best. Here the artist shares a little more about his passion.
Who are some of the artists that influence your work and why?
I grew up around artists, my grandmother was a painter and I spent a lot of time watching her work, as I’m getting older I can definitely feel her presence in the way I’m working or thinking. Of course there are some of the more well known artists I really love, Jenny Saville is by far one of my favorite painters, I recently saw some of her work at the Gagosian Gallery in NYC and was blown away by seeing her portraits in real life. I also am very inspired by Peter Lindbergh’s photographs. Its more real to me, often very documentary feeling and I love that. I also really admire Russell James and how he shoots women, think there’s something so clean and elegant about his photographs.
I see in your work a very intimate and loving relationship with horses; why horses?
Yes, well, I grew up riding horses in shows in Maine. I have always been very calm around horses and share similar instincts with them. Things affect me very much from people or situations I’m around; horses are very sensitive creatures and sense other people which is what they react to, I feel connected to them. When younger I would ride in a saddle and be very appropriately dressed for riding. I now ride bareback most of the time, to me theres nothing more inspiring then the feeling of the power of a horse beneath you and feeling every movement it makes when on its back. They also symbolize something I am searching for in other aspects of life as well, purity, truth power and beauty all combined. Theres a quote by Winston Churchill that always makes me smile when I say it in my head because it feels so true to me: “there’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man”.
What is the relationship between the women you portray and the horses?
I think us humans are not as evolved as we like to think we are, we are still animals by nature. I think women and horses share the same attributes, beauty and strength, power and sensitivity. I am constantly looking for that when I am shooting women and horses, even as separate subjects. I want to portray them in a certain light. Finding the connection between the horse and woman together has been driving me for a while in my head. I think its hard to explain in words sometimes the emotions I am seeking in the images I am striving to shoot.
You seem to be most comfortable with painting and photography – are there other forms of art that interest you?
Indeed there are,I actually was educated in drawing and painting, photography just happened naturally over the last few years. Film is what I really would like to do. Short films at first but down the road I would like to work on much larger projects. When I am working especially on location I always see things in a very cinematic way, not just one still photo.
You have set sail to secluded beaches in Iceland and Scotland, what made you chose these places?
I am always drawn to desolate, raw, empty spaces, the energy there is always so peaceful and inspiring, I feel alive in locations like that, to see and feel nature in a “real” untouched fashion, without much social interference. The environment I think is very important and I think even when looking at it from a “beauty” or “fashion” perspective, the savage, natural or raw beauty in humans or nature is always the most powerful and inspiring to me as an artist and a man. Nature has already created so much beauty on its own. In the ocean, the black beaches in Iceland, mountains and volcanos, you can feel the power of beauty in these locations not just see it, thats very important to what I want to portray in art. I think depth in art is important, beauty should be limitless and fearless. I tend to get very claustrophobic in studios and in cities if i stay for too long.
What is it that you look for when you are shooting your models?
Sincerity, honest and real moments, I try to keep things as natural as possible not too much crazy posing or models trying to be models. I really am interested in shooting the real women. I get frustrated easily sometimes when shooting if I feel the subject isn’t being completely open to me or trusting me. I feel what the subject feels through the lens and it is very important to have some kind of honest connection between the subject and photographer. I like to work very organically and let the shoot naturally evolve. I think shooting is very similar to painting, it’s a process that isn’t something forced or else it tends not to work.
If there was one woman you could work with as a subject of your photography and painting, who would it be?
Lara Stone, her face and body are the most animalistic I think of any women I have seen. Especially with the project I am working on about horses and women portraying this strong and very raw beauty I think she inspires me the most.
What is your biggest dream as an artist?
I really just want to be able to create the images and projects I have in my head. To have freedom to make the work you are inspired to make and hopefully touch people on an emotional level, thats really the best thing I think.
Do you think there are limits to our dreams?
Absolutely not, only the ones you set for yourself but I do think there is a lot of patience to be developed if you really want to achieve your dreams, thats something I am learning very slowly myself, patience and learning from each experience to make the next one better and more productive. Constant improvement and change, I always think things can be better or I could have done a better job shooting. Theres a consistent need to be better and that seems to push my dreams further and further past the previous “limits” or images I had envisioned.
Visit Nick Turner’s website
to see more and follow him on twitter: @nickodt
Smart Magna has also reposted this same interview, and you can find it HERE