Her diptych painting Dancing in My Room is a grand-scale homage to her state of mind during lockdown. Made at a time when she had moved back home to Surrey, Nell captures that dual sense of child-like “frustration” and “comfort” that many of us felt, having to bunk up with our parents again during weeks of being stuck inside. A topless dancing figure wearing pants “resembling a nappy” is surrounded by little illustrations of common themes that were revolving around her head at the time: a cat, a skull (“resembling the time that I had to spend getting way too existential”), sunlight seeping through a window, a bed, some food, a cigarette.
“I made this painting to capture the moments before bed, or in the morning, or in a dull moment during the day, whereby I’d put my music on loud and just dance around in my room,” the artists explains, “thinking about a time not too far away where I could be dancing outside of my room, making sure to keep things light and not get too bogged down in taking life too seriously.”
Nell’s sketchbook is very central to her practice. Always keen to branch out to different mediums, she decided to re-imagine various drawings and musings from the pages of her sketchbook in clay. In a series of ceramic tiles she called From sketchbook to ceramics, she records insights like: “It’s ok to pick your nose because everyone does” and “I slept till 5pm and I feel like shit”. Concluding her thoughts on the series, she tells us: “The good thing about my work is that I don’t often feel a great need to explain it, since it is so self-explanatory and obvious, which is exactly what I strive for as an artist.”