How it started / How it’s going brings together new work on paper by Darren Nixon and Laura Hopkinson, shown in dialogue with The Fourdrinier writer, Natalie Bradbury. For Nixon and Hopkinson as artists, and Bradbury as a writer, the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic have also presented an opportunity to experiment with new media and explore different ways of working. In the past, Nixon and Hopkinson have worked primarily with video, incorporating elements of performance, painting, installation and sculptural intervention. Shown across PAPER and PAPER², the work on display in How it started / How it’s going reflects a change of direction for both artists, both of whom are working with paper for the first time. This was prompted in part by the constraints imposed by lockdown, including a lack of access to studio space and a necessity to work with materials found close to hand.

Nixon’s resulting work is drawn from a large mass of collages, numbering more than four hundred in total. In these collages, found images, alongside images newly created by the artist, are reworked, redrawn and reimagined in new combinations and pairings, creating absurd, surreal and playful juxtapositions. Hopkinson has developed a series of witty text-based drawings, incorporating elements of wordplay alongside found phrases sourced from Amazon product reviews. As a writer whose work usually entails in-depth research, a tightly controlled style and close attention to detail, Bradbury has sought to rediscover the freedom, looseness and spontaneity of writing freehand on paper, without a pre-determined outcome.
From their origins on paper, the bodies of work created by Nixon and Hopkinson have undergone a process of transformation. Scanned and transmitted digitally, the artworks have travelled backwards and forwards between Bradbury, Nixon and Hopkinson as large-scale file transfers. These electronic images have formed the basis of an ongoing, three-way collaboration: each has navigated through the work with a shared sense of humour, play and openness to multiple readings.
The aim of How it started / How it’s going is not to present two artists’ work side-by-side; instead, the show offers a snapshot of a conversation in progress. Rather than seeking to interpret or explain, How it started / How it’s going sketches out creative connections between the artists’ work, which may act as starting points for further stories.
Installation Views
Darren Nixon Works

Untitled #1
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled #2
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
SOLD

Untitled #6
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled #8
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled #10
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled #9
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled (Triptych)
Mixed media on Paper
3 works @ 21 x 30cm
2021
£300
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Untitled #4
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled #3
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
SOLD

Untitled #5
Mixed media on Paper
21 x 30cm
2021
£150
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Untitled #7
Mixed media on Paper
42 x 30cm
2021
£150
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About Laura Hopkinson
Laura Hopkinson first emerged from a 3D printer in 2094, since then she has worked between various time periods with the largest stint in the 3rd century BC. A very influential time for Hopkinson was in 2009 when upon crossing to a different timeline she ended up studying for and receiving a GCSE in the art of hiccupping. In 2041 Hopkinson will receive a Nobel Prize for uncovering the truths of human existence, followed by a BAFTA the following year for the dramatisation of these findings where she will play the role of the unruly swan.
About Darren Nixon
Darren Nixon spent the first 25 years of his life onboard a cruise ship, travelling between South America and New Zealand. He took the chance to jump ship in 1999 and spent a year working on the Millennium Bug for a number of large corporations. In 2000 he tried to launch a career as a professional whistler but any success was rendered impossible by a serious case of hiccups. In a strange twist of fate his hiccups eventually became the source of a new career in teaching. He first met Laura Hopkinson as her tutor on a hiccupping course in 2009 when she received the highest grade he had ever awarded. Her skills were so extraordinary that he became convinced he was no longer fit to teach the subject and he has hopped between various professions since. He still misses whistling.