Derek Nice was born in London in 1933. Derek studied painting and ceramics at Southend Art School followed by a post-graduate design year at the Central School in London.
From 1960 - 70 Derek worked as a designer for the BBC, Associated British Cinemas and Associated British Pathé before turning to teaching at Ipswich School of Art and Torquay School of Art.
Late...r returning to the BBC he furthered his career as an art director and designer for stage and screen. Across the 80's he designed for films (including Ken Loach’s first film) and interactive museum projects including designing the 'Trafalgar Story' at Portsmouth; a replica Viking longship in Oslo and at Gozo Heritage Museum, Malta.
Derek's paintings and sculptures celebrate the transitions and processes brought by the sea - land erosion, exposure of the structure of vessels, the stripping down of layers of paint to expose grain and texture.
His fascination with maritime history, archaeology, desert graffiti, ancient churches and harbours and his passion for collecting used wood and objects from boatyards and beaches are evident in his ethereal sculptures and scratched, worked and reformed paintings of winged figures, mythical boats, beach huts and shacks.
The echoes of maritime history, from ancient graffiti on church and harbour walls to images in prisons engraved by seafarers and galley slaves, marking a tally of their incarceration, feeds into his work. Derek's work evokes man’s physical and spiritual connection with the ocean and elements.
‘Through a process of restitution and close material intervention I salvage life in found objects and resurrect forms from materials dissolved and disassembled by the sea in order to create works that invoke it.’
After visiting Greece as a student, Derek fell for the history, colours and atmosphere of the Eastern Mediterranean. Equally when working on design projects in Malta, he became obsessed with the raw splendour of a rocky outcrop weathering waves of invasion and rich culture. Over the years these influences also have found their way into this work.
Derek has been practising as an artist for 25 years, moving between Malta and the Mendip Hills in Somerset focusing on his sea and boat-centred sculpture and paintings. He has shown widely at galleries in the UK including Messums Gallery London, Victoria Art Gallery Bath, Slader’s Yard Dorset.