IN PICTURES: Pop art gets gallery All Shook Up

AN artist is getting All Shook Up at a South Tyneside gallery.

Nick Holmes is celebrating after seeing a series of his painting adorning the walls of the Customs House, in South Shields.

ALL SHOOK UP ... artists Nick Holmes is staging an exhibition at the Customs House gallery in South Shields.

ALL SHOOK UP ... artists Nick Holmes is staging an exhibition at the Customs House gallery in South Shields.

The Northumberland-based artist’s show, dubbed All Shook Up, is on display in the Mill Dam venue’s Port of Tyne Gallery.

The canvasses, painted with acrylics, draw inspiration from film, music and popular culture.

Nick, who is originally from Hampshire, said: “All the work has been produced since 2003, when I did a Masters at Sunderland University. It’s basically about identity and how we fit into the world.

“There is a sort of surreal feeling about them as well, and lots of references to other artists and borrowing, as well as references to books and films.

“There are lots of influences from things I like or have been inspired by. It’s a sort of diary of my life, and since I’m 70 this year I’ve got a fair bit to look back on.”

The exhibition also features a series of 3D pieces which Nick says are something in between sculptures and paintings. He calls them constructions.

He added: “From coming up with an idea to finishing a painting, the process can take anything up to five years, but I suppose in a way, they’re never really finished.

“It’s not like painting a bunch of flowers and you know you’re finished when it looks like the bunch of flowers.

“There’s nothing to tell me when my paintings are done. There are still things I’d like to add to them.

“I’ve had a solo exhibition in Alnwick before, but nowhere near as big as this.

“It’s fantastic to see them all up on the walls, and everyone at the Customs House has been very supportive and helpful.”

Esen Kaya, the venue’s curator of visual arts, said: “I think Nick’s work will appeal to lots of people because there are lots of references to popular culture.

“His work is inspired by other artists as well as film, music and everyday objects and things that he sees.

“The paintings are bright, colourful and accessible, and you can read as much or as little into them as you like.

“Nick has a long-standing career and it’s nice for us to support a regional artist.”

All Shook Up is on display until Monday, October 6.

The gallery is open from 10am to 8.30pm on performance days and 10am to 6pm on non-performance days, Sundays and bank holidays.

Entry is free. For more information, go to

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki