Meet. Nigel Peake

Published 11 October 2023

Written By Joel Benichou

The distinguished artist, Nigel Peake, weaves intricate details from both natural and built environments into his creations. Drawing inspiration from his background in architecture, his works are a harmonious blend of precise lines, organic patterns, and evocative hues. Whether it's depicting the nuanced landscapes of the countryside or the structured beauty of urban environments, Peake's unique approach offers viewers a fresh perspective on the world around them. His collaborations with renowned brands and features in prestigious publications further cement his reputation in the art world.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Nigel and ask his opinion on work, life and philosophical leanings.

Nigel Peake - Blinking - 2022

Blinking - 2022



I feel that generally, people walk around on autopilot. You have a beautiful knack of appreciating and capturing the ephemeral, natural and constructed world. Where did this awareness come from and what pulls you out of Autopilot?


I wonder what autopilot is like.

The world is various.

It is not possible to see it without acknowledging and appreciating the variations and differences of things.

Perhaps where I grew up had an effect on my approach - it was a quiet place - composed of fields, hedges and trees with small moments of architecture that were often vernacular.

In one sense there was nothing to see and on the other there was everything to see. The big was present in the small.

Nigel Peake - Barns - 2021

Barns - 2021

Pencil and Word


You have a clear mastery of line, colour and word when it comes to capturing these sensory experiences. You have enthused about the virtues of the pencil and considered Hideyuki Nakayama’s observation, that ‘Pencils resemble flowerpots’. What makes coloured line and word your preferred expression? You have also had your work applied to textiles, ceramics, glass and timber. Is there another medium or technique you have a secret passion for?


I always like the idea that a word could be a world.

If so, I always think what could a line be.

And once that is considered…what could a word and line be when placed together.

Perhaps like most people, I like the idea of the ‘possible’

The what could be.

I very much enjoy that essay by Hideyuki Nakayama because he considers that in his own way.

When I work on projects that involve a translation of my work into another world - be it glass, textile, wood…It is always seeing the work from another side.

As you have to consider the limit of the material and also my not knowing of what is possible with that material. So with those two conditions and with an openness to the process of making - things can be discovered.

Nigel Peake - Yesterday - 2021

Yesterday - 2021

Shadows and Echoes


It can be tricky to see things for what they are. In depicting spaces and structures, how do you capture not just the tangible but also the intangible—like the shadows they cast or the echoes they carry?


I imagine - if I do manage to capture ‘it’ then it is through time. Often it is the idea of returning to something. The act of ‘attending’ is perhaps part of it.

Often when I make a book - it is because I am trying to capture the ’thing’ that intrigues me or that alludes me. The thing that makes me return.

It is the same with records that I like to listen to. I can return and return and never somehow to be ‘done’ with them. Or the act of re-reading particular books or poems or essays.

When things are not done with you and you are not done with it.

Nigel Peake - Go Go - 2019

Go Go - 2019



In your 2021 book ‘Barns’, you write;

“When new, their colour is abstract in the landscape. Appearing as if a sculpture. As they age this sculpture becomes a found object.”

What is the significance of the passage of time in your artwork, especially in relation to the natural decay and transformation of objects, and how does this evolving narrative influence your approach to illustrating both the transient and enduring aspects of our surroundings?”


How does one talk about time.

It is like snow or wind…it transforms things.

Sometimes the change can make one sad. Other times…it can be beautiful. Or it can be both.

I do come from a view that I do not know things - nor do I imagine to control things.

When I make work it is from a position of trying to comprehend whatever the thing is. What ‘is it.'

Nigel Peake - There - 2016

There - 2016

Objet trouvé


Memory, objects, and architecture are closely intertwined. I believe the way we curate and craft our surroundings has a significant impact on how we remember and perceive spaces. We tend to surround ourselves with objects that capture and emotion or memory and collectively, these objects create spaces of inspiration and sanctuary. What objects do you surround yourself with and are your most cherished spaces?


Like everyone I collect things. From the books and records that are important to me. To the stones I find in walks or boxes or bottles I find when traveling that have a nice proportion.

Sometimes the objects are memories of places. Sometimes they are just beautiful in their own way.

I remember reading about the author Richard Flanagan, that he would begin with a room full of objects and as he progressed through the writing process of the book the objects were actively removed from the room.

The idea of the book being a container always intrigues me.

Nigel Peake - Bokkusu - 2021

Bokkusu - 2021



You have a foundation of architectural education and have worked with directly with architect Mary Duggan on a 3-month drawing residency. How was that experience and what do you think about architecture, architects and the future of our profession?


Yes I studied architecture at Edinburgh University and have taught a studio at the EPFL in Switzerland.

The windows, doors, corridors, rooms…that I encounter - either on a daily basis or when travelling have an impact on me. I imagine like everyone.

Often I try to remember how places were, in terms of the sequence of spaces.

I enjoy seeing and experiencing how different cultures construct a space through their use of material and their own understanding of what space is.

When you feel that interaction it can be very strong.

Of course there is the other side - where you are confronted with an architecture that has no response to the landscape or to the context or to beauty or to anything.

The collaboration with Mary Duggan was a very nice simple time in my memory. I was briefly living in London and sometimes getting the train to Paris for other projects.

There was no expectation about what I would make - and so I just quietly made drawings in a small space of the main studio using her casting process as the beginning point.

After I made a series of drawings her studio then made a sequence of casts in response to the drawings. There was a nice sense of something doubling and changing.

Nigel Peake - Above - 2015

Above - 2015



Many creatives seem to have cyclical periods of contentment. With work, creativity, inspiration and satisfaction. Do you feel this way and how do you manage the ebb and flow of contentment and malaise? What advice would you give young artists or architects that are inspired by your work?


I just work - be it on projects or on my own books.

I do enjoy to have time when traveling with work when I do nothing - for example to just sit on a train and to look out onto a place I do not know.

I really feel I'm in no position to give advice - I am like everyone - beginning again and again each day in front of a page.

Nigel Peake - When the landscape became the shape of a room - 2022

When the landscape became the shape of a room - 2022

Ambition and Legacy


You have an impressive portfolio with demonstrated versatility and unique style. With your drawings and books, high-profile collaborations and international recognition through publications and exhibitions, your body of work is destined to resonate for years to come. Where to from here? As you contemplate the future, what excites you and what legacy do you aspire to leave behind?


For now - I just hope to go further into things through words and lines.

I begin to prepare or to think of work for exhibitions of drawings next year.

I do not see generally very far into the future - I tend to go one day at a time.

As to what excites me... How does a tree move in the wind. How does a bird fly in the sky.


All images by Nigel Peake.

Prints and publications

Represented by Yvon Lambert, Paris

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