Nicolas William Hughes

Is an artist whose work focuses on exploring our contemporary relationship to nature. Born in Wales (1984) Hughes currently works and lives in Østfold, Norway.

Hughes has been practicing and studying art for over 10 years. He obtained a BA(hons) degree in Photographic Art from University of Wales Newport and a Masters Degree in Photography Contemporary Dialogues from Swansea Metropolitan University. He is currently an MFA candidate in the Art and Public Space course at Oslo National Academy of the Arts Hughes has exhibited his work extensively in both solo and group shows nationally (U.K.) and internationally.


My research based practice explores man’s place as part of nature, observing the parallels and/or differences between nature and contemporary society.

My work is layered with various approaches to disseminating research, indeed I believe in a notion of ‘research as practice’. I work on this research in a tentative manner, approaching as many diverse fields as possible in order to gain a better understanding of my chosen topics surrounding our place in nature. I find questions and queries within the topics I research and it is these questions which lead to the creation of works. Each piece of work  I create becomes a facet within an umbrella of a larger research project on a chosen topic, within the frame of mans relationship to nature.  In my work I frequently use absurdity as a artistic tool, adding humour which can both mirror and/or counter the seriousness of topics which the works explore. I feel this use of humour can also make the works accessible to a wider public. I make works with the aim to plant seeds of questioning, I do not however expect  answers.

Nicolas William Hughes

Aspects of Nicolas’s work include anthropology and the contemporary relationship between man and nature. Nicolas explores various notions concerning our loss of identity and cultural heritage within a global society, through the medium of photography, film, installation and performance. His humorous approach has engaged a contemporary audience and in October 2011, Nicolas’s work ‘Twitter’ was profiled within Mission Gallery’s new initiative; ‘the […] space: a new programme for moving image and supporting artist videos’. Nicolas’s work was also included in Mission Gallery’s ‘Photography Open’ in 2010.

As one of the founding members of Swansea based arts collective Gower Arts, Nicolas has been very active and responsive to the arts scene in Swansea through exhibitions and project work. He is an active and dynamic member of the visual arts community in Swansea and is known for his enthusiastic and hard working nature. Nicolas is someone whose social conscious is at the heart of his work. The exchange of ideas and willingness to work with others, is at the forefront of his work.

Amanda Roderick, Director Mission Gallery,


Nicolas has definite aspirations in the art world, which has spanned through his period of study and into the beginnings of his career. He always seemed very sure of his aims and ambitions and for as long as I have known him has worked steadily and seriously toward them. His studentship showed many admirable qualities and he took very well to the experimental nature of the course and our wider considerations on art and photography.

He read widely and showed a really strong work ethic, also taking up an active and central role within his cohort in the organisation of the course as far as it went from the student perspective. One of the skills he developed in his postgraduate practice was in the nurturing of a participatory aesthetic within his work. He designed numerous projects which were both interesting and engaging in which he explored the interface between his work and the public, often drawing them into the quirky world he was inventing.

In my opinion his work became much more nuanced and mature during his studies, even though as a practice it was unashamedly eccentric. He managed to combine a participatory element of fun with quite deep research questions, which drew the viewer in making them smile as well as think. His final submission for the degree was a multi-media performative portfolio work ranging across the interfaces of anthropology, language, art and performance that most visitors to the show considered the most memorable and entertaining piece of that year. He designed and delivered the work with confidence and skill, juggling all the technical difficulties inherent in a complex multi-media installation with some ease.

Dr Paul Jeff. Artist and Portfolio Director MA Art & Design – contemporary dialogues.