Old Tat Magazine

Where fashion and art come together to celebrate a love for old tat.

Artist Nigel Humphries

Artist Nigel Humphries


My style is a combination of many influences. Being a self taught artist I studied many artists particularly the techniques of the old masters which I have adapted to suit my own way of working. So I suppose my style would be considered quite traditional but with a quirky element. I consider my paintings on the classic still life genre. My intention is to bring a smile to people’s faces.

You could say that my customer base is mainly people who are fun loving of any age who appreciate attention to detail and like something a little bit different without being too obscure. It is interesting when I exhibit my work to watch people being drawn to my subject matter. It is quite magical.

It is a great outlet. It allows me to channel my creativity and I see each piece as a new challenge. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment, especially if the piece has been particularly difficult to paint.

love hearts and smarties

I have painted many subjects over the years but my best work would have to be sweets and toys. I love the idea of simply setting up an arrangement and just painting it. It is a basic form of painting but a great discipline for any artist to do from time to time to time whatever subject matter they are painting. It sharpens your observational skills in life!

For my sweet paintings nostalgia is an important part. It transports me back to my childhood spending my pocket money at the local shop. Hopefully it evokes this response from others too.

assorted sweets

Some works I can complete in a few hours and others depending on the size may take days or even weeks depending on the complexity of the piece. I have spent many days just painting a bowl full of Smarties. The hardest part besides the actual process of painting the picture is resisting the temptation to scoff the chocolates and sweets which fill my studio. Sometimes the room can smell like a sweet shop. Torture!

Food is important in that it forms the basis of my work. Some would consider it an historic reference because packaging changes so frequently and so the paintings are a snapshot in time. Smarties for example were packaged in tubes for years but sadly they no longer are. I have to source old packaging to recreate the classic style. I chose sweeties as my subject matter because I love to paint them, eat them and look at them. Although sugar is a major factor in the nations obesity problem, at least when you buy sweets or chocolates you know you are buying sugar, I believe the biggest culprit is the hidden sugars in food in general even those marketed as “healthy”. As far as sweets are concerned I believe in the old saying “all things in moderation”.

 smarties and jelly babies

Words by Loo Loo Rose



Author: oldtatmag

Old Tat magazine is a British niche bi-annual print publication featuring fashion, art and the miscellaneous celebrating all things tatty with a love for clutter. Print magazine available in stores now! Editor: Loo Loo Rose We accept submissions and welcome contributors. Email: oldtatmagazine@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter: @OldTatMag

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