Pan’s Labyrinth featured artist Lee Nolan

Featuring around 300 pieces this years Oldham Open is one of our most popular to date. This years entries range from intricate hand crafted wooden jewellery to paintings, sculpture and large scale models. The remarkable array of mediums, techniques and styles used demonstrates the talents and skills of local artists and craftspeople from the Borough of Oldham.

To celebrate the opening of the Oldham Open we will be featuring a number of our exhibiting artists as guest bloggers, telling us a little about themselves and their work.

The next fantastic artist to feature as a guest blogger is…

Name: Lee Nolan

Title of piece: Pan’s Labyrinth

1. Please give a brief introduction about yourself and your work

I am a local artist and resident of Oldham, born and bred. My work is committed to recycling materials.

2. Can you tell me about the work you submitted? What was the inspiration for the piece? Is this your usual style? What techniques and materials have you used and why?

I was fascinated by the main character from Pan’s Labyrinth, Pan. So much so I decided I wanted to create a larger than life size model of him. I collected materials from bins, skips, anything that could be recycled to make him. I like to build large scale models which make an impact.

3. Are there any other creative mediums you would love to pursue but haven’t yet?

Yes, I would love to try clay but my eye naturally seem to turn to anything thrown away. Everything can be used again. I’d like to try something that no one has used before – still looking!

4. What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?

I think everyone has a creative side if they care to follow it. For me its an escape from every day life. Its a very personal journey a chance to use the imagination, to dream, to be a kid again.

5. Are you working on anything else at the moment?

I’ve got sketches of ideas that are starting to form. I have so many bits of paper with this and that on it’s hard to keep track of them all. But in this throw away culture who knows what I will see that inspires my next project.

6. What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you couldn’t make your work without?

The most important tool for me is imagination. I don’t have any particular tools that I use, I’m happy to use anything that comes to hand. Beg, steal of borrow, that’s the beauty of this medium, you don’t know what tool you’ll find next. I like finding things that are at the end of their days but all of a sudden it’s perfect for a certain job or added to a sculpture.

7. When you’re not busy creating what do you like doing in your spare time? Any other hobbies or interests?

I am very family orientated and a very proud granddad. I love gardening, films (especially musicals), the theatre, I’m passionate about continuing learning – like my mum always says, an idol mind is the devil’s playground.

8. Which other artists do you admire or inspire your work? (famous or not!)

I think all artists are good but I find the greats such as Davinci to be mind blowing!

9. What would people be surprised to find out about you?

That I’ve been in quite a few films and dramas as an extra a few years ago including East is East and Clocking Off to name a few.

10. Many artists feel they could work on their pieces for ever more. How do you know when a work is finished?

I don’t think you ever really are happy at the end. You could always add or take away but you’ve got to tell yourself “Right, that’s it. Stop.”

11. And lastly, do you have any inspiring tips or words to share with everyone?

Simply if you’ve got a deep down feeling that something you have always wanted to create something but never felt good enough, think again. Some people put it to one side, life gets in the way, but it can be a part of our lives if you want it to be.
I think places like Gallery Oldham that give chances to any body to have a go are great inspiration. The fact that people from all walks of life display their work is a great stage. Everybody is the same, proud of what they have achieved no matter the medium. I hope this year people go away with one thought that next year will be ready to submit and be proud of their work. The gallery has certainly changed my life and hope it does to many others.

The Oldham Open is on until 18 November, be sure to visit to see Lee’s work and all of the other submitting artists and makers.