A day well spent in London with the artist and abstract painter, Isle skateboards Pro & Nike SB rider Nick Jensen.
Words and photography: Maksim Kalanep
February is rainy, well, winter in London in general is rainy and very cloudy, so we were very fortunate it didn't rain on our 3rd attempt to schedule this. It was very close on the day in the morning, there was a bit of moist in the air, but luck was on our side this time.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, we met outside of the London Fields station next to the park and Nick took us to his studio space that he rents nearby. Through winter while the days are short Nick spends his time at the studio on a daily basis - several hours in the morning and couple hours after skate sessions when the daylight is gone. Space itself is a converted warehouse split into smaller studio spaces and rented out for a reasonable price. Nick shares his space with another artist. It's a great and quite place with high ceilings and plenty of natural daylight if you are next to one of the big roof windows like Nick is. It was very gloomy on the day, so we had to turn on the extra lights, though. Too bad, this place will be demolished in 6 months thanks to a new project with luxury apartments.
Nick showed me around his side of the studio, made some tea for both of us and started preparing plaster mix for one of his paintings. While he was doing that - I had a look at various items that ended up as graphics on Isle skateboards, made it into the full-length Vase video and other Jacob Harris' video edits like Casper Brooker's recent Free part and Atlantic Drift: Episode 1 - London. The original broken Sony VX1000 camera - that was used as a flower vase prop for the full-length of the same name - was there as well. One of the shelf units was full of paint tubes, as to be expected in the painter's studio. Turned out these used to belong to David Hockney.
By the time Nick was ready with the plaster mix - I was still wondering around having a closer look at the things. My camera wasn't even prepared. The film was still in its plastic container in my photography bag. Eventually, I was all set and Nick began pouring the plaster mix on to one of his paintings in progress. The idea was to fill up the allocated area and leave it to dry for 5-10 minutes until the mix gets less watery. After that, you can start using brushes to paint and the plaster will retain all the textures created.
The whole process didn't take Nick that long and when finished he decided it was a good time to go for a skate session. It was already well past 12am and not much daylight was left ahead of us. So session it was to get some fresh air and help Nick to get a clearer vision where to continue with the painting next and avoid making any spontaneous decisions. Before we left Nick did some proper cleaning up - painting with plaster is a messy process. He also showed me a DIY extended canvas he had to put together in order to fit in one of his painting in full.
Since the weather wasn't great and most of the Isle team riders were at the Canada Water plaza we decided to head over there. And it was close enough on the overground train.
When we arrived most of the guys were about to leave. Sylvain Tognelli stayed longer and while Nick was warming up - they filmed a couple of lines together and played a good game of S.K.A.T.E. Once Nick was fully warmed up - we got a couple of shots at the plaza and it was really time to finish the day. It was getting dark and quite cold. Nick grabbed a nutritious kebab from a local stall and we all went our own directions - Nick went back to the studio, I jumped on the train to get home and start developing films.