Born in Russia, Nick Morte attended art school as a teenager in the early 90s. Those years were hard in Russia and the teachers mostly worked for free, due to delays with salaries and insane inflation. The teachers were so dedicated that they often spent extra hours with the pupils, ensuring they got as much information as they could digest. However, instead of studying for a degree in fine art, Nick opted instead for civil law and qualified with a Bachelor Degree. He went on to become a tattooist, and now resides in Christchurch, where he is continuing his love affair with oil painting.
“When I graduated from university, I already knew that I didn’t want to work as a lawyer but rather wanted to do something creative for a living. A few years before that, I’d tried tattooing a friend (just out of curiosity at first) and, by the time I finished my civil law studies, I was looking for a tattoo apprenticeship. This search led me to Moscow, where I stayed for a while and eventually became a well-established tattooist.” In 2008 Nick started to travel, taking his work as a tattoo artist with him. This journey lasted some years and took him to most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He finally decided to settle in Norway, staying there until 2016. But the Norwegian authorities deemed being a tattoo artist “not a real profession” – a decision that was baffling to Nick – and this meant he left Norway and the European Union. He travelled to New Zealand and returned to painting again: “Just like at high school – painting to escape reality, painting as self-medication, painting as a cure that heals the soul and clears the mind,” he says. After taking a year off tattooing, he discovered that he might be able to make a living from painting. “This was the moment of true, infinite gratitude – I’m not trying to please the public but as long as my art seems to resonate with people, I’m happy to share it with wide audiences.” Nick has found that working as an artist means everything to him.
See more about Nick here: Nick Morte.