The art of Nicola Frimpong explores complex themes such as race, sexuality, hatred and violence. These are what really matter to her and, she believes, to society in general. Nicola says, ″My work is an honest reflection of my inner self.″ She warns us her work is sexually explicit and strictly for adults only.
Nicola Frimpong — Alias Freeakpong – About the Artist
I first met Nicola Frimpong, known as Freeakpong, during her involvement with Iniva’s (Institute of International Visual Arts) project African Diaspora Artists in the 21st Century. Nicola agreed to speak exclusively to Decoded Arts.
Born in Surrey in 1987, Nicola has lived in England all her life and describes her family as middle class. When I asked Nicola about her alias, she told me, ″Freeakpong, it defines the essence and work I embrace unto me and the world.″
After graduating with a B.A. in Fine Art from the University College of Creative Arts, Nicola received a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art.
Nicola’s work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at prestigious galleries such as the Bloomberg New Contemporaries Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Bloomberg New Contemporaries Liverpool; Saatchi Gallery; The African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival; The Museum of Everything,Tate Modern; The Boiler House and many others.
An Interview with Freeakpong – Nicola Frimpong
Decoded Arts: Are you self-taught, or did you go to art school?
Nicola Frimpong: I’m self-taught. I also went to Art school, but was never taught how to draw human anatomy. I have always been an artist since I was young, it’s just grown on me.
Decoded Arts: Tell me about your art. I believe watercolour is your preferred medium. Why is that?
Nicola Frimpong: My art is very open. it’s universal, touching historical and contemporary references. Watercolour I have always found very easy to play with, it’s my favourite tool!
Decoded Arts: How does your art express and explore the social attitudes of contemporary society?
Nicola Frimpong: It identifies the reality of the world. I display social attitudes with a creative representation of my personal and intimate opinions.
Decoded Arts: What inspires your art, for example, who are your artistic heroes?
Nicola Frimpong: The world inspires my art, Grayson Perry, Dali, Hogarth, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Hieronymus Bosch, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Marquise De Sade, Henry Darger, Nan Goldin, Hans Rudolf Giger, David LaChapelle, Hermann Nitsch, Paul McCartney and Otto Dix.
Decoded Arts: I believe you have a daytime job working in social care. Does this experience influence your art?
Nicola Frimpong: I attempt to keep them both separate. When I go to work I’m an activity assistant. When I’m not at work, I escape into my own world and focus on being an artist. They are both different spectrums of the world.
Decoded Arts: Your work has appeared in so many prestigious museums and galleries. How do you feel when you see your work displayed at places like the Saatchi or Iniva?
Nicola Frimpong: I feel absolutely honoured and privileged – it’s the greatest achievement I have ever done. It brings a tear to my eye, a true blessing!
Decoded Arts: You told me you are both dyslexic and dyspraxic. Does this affect your art in any way?
Nicola Frimpong: I’m not really sure. I struggled at school when I was young, but it was not diagnosed until I was nineteen. It’s hard to say if it influenced my work. I have been drawing since I was four years old.
Decoded Arts: How would you encourage aspiring artists who face similar disabilities?
Nicola Frimpong: I would focus on your passion and strengthen your dreams, it doesn’t have to be perceived as negative. Everybody has a disability – you have to use your gift to its advantage. Don’t let your talent go to waste, you only get one shot in life. Opportunity comes once in a blue moon.
Decoded Arts: What are your plans for the future?
Nicola Frimpong: You will just have to wait and see!!
Nicola Frimpong’s World in Watercolours and Digital Art
Although Nicola’s preferred medium is watercolour, as she states above, she also creates vivid, vibrant digital representations of her world.
It is very definitely an adult world, for other adults to view. Freeakpong explores sexuality through implicitly sexual scenes as she gives a close up and personal view of the hatred, racism and violence she abhors. More of Nicola’s work appears on her website, but it’s only available if you’re over 18!