The man behind the mask

Nick Norcross wearing a selection of his creative masks at the private view of Inside Out.

Nick Norcross wearing a selection of his creative masks at the private view of Inside Out.

Share this article

An alter ego, a quarry and a tin of old matchbooks are among the items which provided inspiration for a city exhibition.

Students on the Studio Practice and Site and Archive Interventions strands of the MA Fine Art programme at the University of Central Lancashire have been showcasing their talents.

Among the exhibitors was Electronic music fan Nick Norcross who channelled his alter ego Tribal Nick to create 25 eye-catching masks which differ in size and shape.

The 33-year-old, from Penwortham, spent between 10 and 40 hours modelling each design from clay, covering it in paper mache and painting with a striking design.

Nick won a 2014 UCLan Creative Award when he was on the undergraduate illustration degree and as part of his research for the exhibition he spent time with renowned York street performer Purple Man.

He also took a selection of the masks on to the streets in Preston city centre to gauge people’s reactions and he’s been commissioned by the Harris Museum.

He said: “My work is all instinct based and portrays my emotions at that moment in time. I’m really interested in how people react when wearing and seeing the masks.

“Masks hide emotions and allow people to express themselves in a way which they might not do without the mask.”

A trip to a house clearance shop proved the inspiration for Lauren Carter-Bridges’ final work.

She bought an old tin full of 120 matchbooks for £1 and discovered the matchbooks had been collected from across Europe and the United States of America.

After further investigation she realised the 50 American books signalled a cross country journey in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Mature student Martha Oatway, who originates from Maine but is currently living in Preston with her husband, used forever mirrors, glass panels, laser cutting techniques, steelwork and stones to create her stunning contemporary structure.

She used Threshfield Quarry, near Skipton, to challenge people’s perceptions of quarries on the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.

MA Fine Art course leader Professor Charles Quick said: “All the students worked extremely hard.

“Their work is very ambitious in terms of scale and endeavour and it’s had a great response.”