Clondalkin born Paul Nixon has been creating art using a broad range of his artistic skills for the past eighteen years, but his passion for woodworking began in his early childhood. Surrounded by a family of cabinet makers Paul quickly took on the family skills. Paul spent much of his early childhood with his grandparents in the mountains of County Sligo in the northwest of Ireland. In a thatched house set on the slopes of a two thousand foot mountain Paul’s grandmother Margaret had a great influence over him. She spent a good deal of her 83 years living on these slopes and its wild glaciated lands where she was tuned into the historical, mystical, and legendary wonders that enveloped this area. Margaret endeared Paul with these qualities which allowed his imagination to evolve and develop that would serve him well in later years.
Paul left Ireland for New York in 1985 where he partnered in an auto repair business in White Plains NY. In 1996 Paul met his future wife Francesca, a complaining customer, when a year later they moved south to Greensboro North Carolina. It was then that Paul’s ability as a multi talented artist began to flourish. Paul considers himself a late bloomer when it comes to his artistic talents. At the age of 45 Paul was offered the gift of an old wood working lathe from his wife, Francesca’s uncle Raley Dunn. Paul set about learning how to operate the lathe when his wife on seeing his progress asked him to make her aunt Mary a walking stick. Having received the lathe from her husband he set about his work and finally with the cane finished he felt it needed something personal and from his heart that would make it unique. That was when Paul picked up an xacto knife and set about carving a vine extending about 7” below the handle. Having no experience as a wood carver and 40 hours later with only three leaves carved into the wood, Paul gave up in frustration and abandoned his project.
Two weeks later when Francesca discovered that Paul had quit she stressed to him that he needed to finish making this cane as she had already made her aunt aware that Paul was doing something special for her, and so she was expecting something special. With new pressure applied, Paul recovered the cane and worked on it for the next three months. Paul remarks that it did not hit him till after he presented his gift to Aunt Mary and watching her emotional tearful response, that he realized that he had to pursue this new found skill. His next two wood sculptures which followed depicting a walnut bust of Queen Maeve a mythological Celtic warrior, and a walnut carved crozier attributed to St Patrick are both on permanent display in the William Butler Yeats museum in Sligo Ireland. Paul says that working in 3 dimensional works allowed his skills to expand into painting, stained glass, cement and resin casting and photography. Several of his bronze public sculptures adorn the city of Greensboro and the surrounding area as well as liturgical carvings across the USA and Ireland. His photography and his subject pertaining to his carved fairies caught the attention of the William Butler Yeats Society in New York and Ireland. Last year he was invited to NYU to be involved in a tribute celebrating WB Yeats where he provided a power point presentation of his work and its relation to the works of Yeats.
As an artist/sculptor/ photographer Paul has been accused of being a bit of a Chameleon with his subject matter and style running the gamut from Contemporary/Abstract to Classical Renaissance. He is a visionary who is talented in many mediums who is constantly savoring the excitement of exploration and experimentation.
In the twenty one years living in Greensboro, North Carolina. Paul has carved out a reputation as a sculptor and photographer. Much of his new photography is influenced by those early day experiences which capture the imagination of so many who have come to know his work.