Nicolas Dixon Exhibition: Outlaws Yacht Club, Leeds – preview of mind bending exhibition in Leeds by contemporary of Damien Hirst

Nicolas Dixon exhibition

Outlaws Yacht Club, New York St, Leeds.

Opens Thursday 29th May.

7pm -11pm

Free entry.

You’ve all heard of Damien Hirst, but you may not have heard of another of Hirst’s Leeds based contemporaries, Nicolas ‘Dicko’ Dixon. With an exhibition due to start at the increasingly popular Outlaws Yacht Club in Leeds, Louder Than War have decided to shine a light on this unassuming artist.

At the beginning of 2013, having already enjoyed success with shows in the UK and New York, Nicolas Dixon moved to Ibiza to begin work on several high profile commissions, including painting the lobby at Urban Spaces, Ibiza’s first boutique art hotel. Having seen Nicolas’ work, Pacha, the infamous Ibizan nightclub and institution, invited Nicolas to re-design their logo in celebration of their 40th anniversary. A successful summer was capped by collaborating with a number of internationally reputed artists in the ‘Sons of Warhol’ exhibition held by Urban in Ibiza.

Nicolas returned from Ibiza as an artist very much in demand. In September 2013 he was commissioned to create a 10 meter mural for The Garage, nightclub in Leeds – host to the world’s longest running club night ‘Back to Basics.’ Another large scale mural can also be seen at The Rainbow in Birmingham.

Labyrinth will be Nicolas’ first solo shown in the UK since returning from Ibiza and it features a brand new body of work, never before seen by the public, as well as couple of older pieces that will give the show context.

“My work is just totally from my mind. I don’t ever sketch it out, I just go with it and it just grows organically and I see things within that and adapt it. It is one of those things because I believe it’s from the subconscious. It has a running theme through it. It’s called colouring the unconscious. My unconscious is coming out and I portray that on the wall and the view, whoever is looking at it can take what they want from it from their subconscious.”

He adds…

“I’m not a massive follower of the arts scene. I try not to get influenced too much because I want to try and keep it as original as possible. It’s good to get inspired, but I try to keep my influences pure because it’s quite organic what I do and I don’t want to pick up other things.”

Dixon describes these new pieces as “intricate, interconnecting roads of intrigue.” Within his maze of complex lines and biomorphic shapes, accentuated with splashes of vivid colour, Nicolas hopes you will find a man, who, like all of us, doesn’t always know which path to take.

As much as possible, Nicolas allows his hand to be guided by the impulse of what psychologist Carl Jung referred to as the “collective unconscious” – a kind of ancestral memory in which the cumulative experiences of generations past are embedded deep in the psyche.

These unconscious impulses are experienced as emotion in the conscious part of the mind, before being transformed into action. The result is a “projective space” that invites the viewer in to explore their own unconscious mind.

Deeply personal yet simultaneously universal, each painting draws you in with hypnotic certainty. Though at first unfamiliar, there is something strangely recognizable about the work of Nicolas Dixon, as if within them we identify a small part of ourselves.


Nicolas Dixon exhibition is at Outlaws Yacht Club, New York St, Leeds. It opens on Thursday 29th May and entry is free.

 All words by Carl Stanley. More writing by Carl on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.


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