Nancy Farmer

Nancy Farmer - photo of the artist

I had no formal training in painting. Although I did go to Glasgow School of Art it was to study jewellery, I also studied at the Royal College of Art and the V&A museum for an MA in Conservation of Metalwork. Perhaps both these experiences in part account for a love of precision and well-crafted work, but then I was always more of a fan of the very sharp pencil than the fuzzy stick of charcoal, even at school. I’m generally attracted to ‘highly finished’ works of art, and to pictorial images which tell a story.

I have worked as a metalwork conservator, a jewellery model maker, and a goldsmith. I now have a full time occupation which consists of painting, and producing prints and cards of my work, running this a website as a sort of online gallery, and all the inexplicable other stuff that seems to use up my time...

My subjects are somewhere between fantasy and satire. I like to add a certain humanity and ordinariness to fantasy and vice versa. I do not like to take my subjects too seriously.

themes & subjects

Devils are a common theme in my work – they lounge about, persecuting the damned because it is their job to do so, but without much enthusiasm. They have coffee breaks, (no doubt exchanging the latest gossip or bitching about the management), and, since they are devils, have an impressive wardrobe of fetish clothing.

Of course the angels are no better – ‘The Guardian Angel’ - a plump creature in a fur-trimmed pink negligee – reclines on a cloud, glass of pink champagne and a box of chocolates nearby. Through the rose-tinted spectacles she wears she can see no wrong – nothing to cause her to move from her comfortable spot.

Other characters populate my work – ‘The Bank Holiday Fairy’ shelters glumly beneath a toadstool as the rain pours down – skimpy summer dress teamed with large green wellies. ‘The Tooth Fairy’ is another case altogether – not to be trusted and possibly quite deranged, and the mermaid in ‘Fishwife’ has given up mooning after shipwrecked sailors, and instead has fallen in love with a fish.

This is a certain blend of satire, fantasy and reality, inspired by nothing more than the world we live in. Indolence, brash sexuality, boredom and decline are favourite themes, and yet I do not mean to depress you – my images generally amuse, entertain, sometimes alarm, and just occasionally they may make you stop and think.

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