The first solo art exhibition of work by local artist Nicky Nicholls was launched on Saturday at the Click Clock Gallery.
The Gallery was part of a scheme which was cut by the council, however, John Reeve, a chartered surveyor and amateur photographer, decided to rent the wall-space himself when he was told by the leaseholder that the cafe was now left with bare walls.
At first he just displayed his own photographs but when he was given the list of the artists involved in the council’s scheme he decided to hire out the space to other artists with the aim: “To establish an art and photographic centre in Croydon”.
The gallery is now thriving and fully booked until the summer.
The artist, Nicky Nicholls, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and has battled with chronic alcoholism. Some of her artwork aims to tackle the stigma attached to those who have mental health problems. She said painting has helped her deal with her problems.
Nicholls uses pastels and her own fingers to create her artwork. She told EastLondonLines: “Today is not about the painting, it’s about the message. Don’t give up, whatever’s gone on, don’t give up!”
Among those attending the exhibition was Croydon Council’s Deputy Mayor, David Fitze. At the launch he said: “What’s special for me is that a lot of the artists that come here have come from very difficult back grounds. They’ve shown that underneath it all there is something there which everyone can share with them.”
Reeve told EastLondonLines: “I get a kick out of saying these people have got something here, and they can use it. I love it for what it produces.”
The gallery is currently exhibiting the work of other artists as well as Nicholls.
New exhibitions will be launched every month and the gallery has been fully booked since September and will be until June according to Reeves.
All proceeds of the sale of Nicky Nicholls’ artwork will go to the Addiscombe Neighbourhood Care Association and Croydon Cats Protection.