Derek Nice trained at Southend School of Art, Central School of Art and London University. He taught Art and Design in Essex and Royal Naval School, Malta, Hornsey and Brighton Colleges or Art. He has been Artist in Residence at Kings School Worcester and Kings College Taunton. Previously, he was Art Director for BBC TV in both London and Bristol. For the past 25 years he has concentrated on his own work.
His work alludes to and celebrates the transitions and processes brought by the sea – land erosion, exposure of the structure of vessels, the stripping down of layers of paint to expose grain and texture. His paintings respond to and conduct a dialogue with his constructions.
A rich heritage of maritime history, from ancient graffiti on church and harbour walls to images in prisons engraved by seafarers and galley slaves, marking a tally of their incarceration, feeds into his work. His angels are constructed from boat fragments, a metaphor for the traumatic experience of refugees seeking safe haven.
In another context, his typrographic pieces are a response to walls and hoardings at street level carrying messages and information, at the same time layered and transient, which, worn by time and the elements, break down, metamorphosing from ghosts of language to abstract visual statements.