Nikki’s interest in picture-making stems from the idea that even the seemingly banal can be elevated into something worth consideration and made permanent when drawn or painted. Nothing is banal if you look at it in the right way.
Spending the time to look very hard and to translate it into marks on paper, or a pattern of tone and colour, is a way of paying attention and being present. Drawing and painting can also reveal the kind of oddness and strangeness found in things both new and familiar.
The challenge is to play with technical struggles and formal aspects of picture-making without obscuring a sense of wonder and curiosity.
Nikki Gardham completed her postgraduate at the Royal Drawing School in 2012–13.
In 2013 Nikki began teaching on the school’s Young Artists programme, planning and delivering weekly sustained and experimental drawing tuition for young artists aged 10–18 in partnership with schools from all London boroughs. She has taught at the National Gallery, Royal Academy, Fleming Collection and the Foundling Museum.
In 2015 Nikki taught on a six-month placement at Marylebone Boys’ School sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education (SAPERE), facilitating weekly workshops to promote philosophical understanding of the world around us and peer-led learning via practical activities, discussion, moral reasoning and promotion of communication skills. The skills learnt during this period underpin the learning in all subsequent workshops she has planned and delivered.
She currently teaches adult and youth practical art and discursive workshops as a freelance tutor with Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Royal Drawing School’s outreach programme into east London schools.