Exploring contemporary design in mosaic art with Nikki Edwards
Nikki Edwards Studio, mosaic artist based in Hackney Downs, is making a name for her bold designs and the boundaries she's pushing in this more traditional field. We sat down to explore her roots in graphic design, and the impact its made on her work today.
How did you get into mosaic art?
My mom originally taught me some techniques when I was very young and we would make small pieces. Much later on, I had a large piece I started working on (in 2011) and forgot about it for ten years, and then in the pandemic, I decided to finish it. That gave me fresh and renewed energy to create some new pieces and abandon my block printing totally!
How does your work in graphic design and other artistic mediums play into mosaic?
Looking back at my 20+ year career as a graphic designer, I was feeling frustrated at the digital nature of my work and wanted to create art that is the opposite of digital — art immortalised in glass and wood that cannot be easily deleted or stored on the cloud! I see it as a true collaboration of my skills. I create the work on my iPad and MacBook using various programmes, and then transfer that design using the ancient technique of mosaic art.
What's your thoughts on mosaic art currently?
I'm hoping to take it into a more contemporary and graphic space, chucking traditional guidelines out of the window, while still holding much respect for early work such as the Byzantine and Blue mosque works.
What are your favourite pieces to make?
The pieces that I make for myself are the ones I truly enjoy. I also love a commission where, through a collaborative process, I can create something both the client and I are in love with and where I haven't sacrificed too much of myself in the process.
How has having a dedicated studio space affected your work?
Having my own studio has enabled me to spread out and work more efficiently, explore more techniques and scale up my works due to having a dedicated space. It's been great working amongst other artists of all disciplines, discussing our works, sharing tips with each other and helping with the isolation of working alone.