Nicholas Houghton

Bio: Nicholas Houghton is a multi-media artist based in Folkestone and London, England. He has lived and worked in Canada, Belgium and Portugal. He has work in various public collections, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Art and has had shows in Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany and the UK.


This piece documents my art career by dividing it into various periods. These are as follow:
1971-1974      Conceptual experimentation
1975-1976      Synthesis: narrative works
1977-1981      Commercial success
1982-1994      Peaks and troughs
1995-1996      Belgian period
1997-2001      Intellectualism
2002-2007      Intermittent experimentation
2008-2009      Intense creativity
2010-2017      Intense productivity
2018-present   Backwards and forwards

My art career so far

This is a text work:
'Seems like I float over the world, held aloft by despair. Impossible to focus through sore, red eyes.
This intense misery that’s gnawing away at all dimensions of my existence.
Keep thinking about how abandoned and let down I feel.
Left my bag on a train, then walked out in front of a bus (by accident; it stopped). Back home I forgot I’d run a bath and it overflowed.
With bleary eyes I watch the water trickling down the kitchen walls, forming puddles on the counter, on the cooker, on the floor. Drip, drip, drip. 
The bath so full. And me so empty.'

Full of Emptiness

This is text work about somebody who has hit hard times.I'm unable to post the text here because it well exceeds the words length. This is how it finishes: 'I should have done something. Resisted. I ought to have put up a fight. But somehow I didn’t have it in me. Still don’t. Instead, I slid down the path of least resistance, which passed through a landscape of clichés. '

Path of Least Resistance

Clueless: no ideas

This is a text work which alternates my words with words by Samuel Beckett in his 1969 work Lessness, first published in French as Sans. This is the text: Grey sky.
As is is. 
One step more in the endlessness.
Is as is.
No sound no stir.
Will be will be.
Light of reason all gone.
But I cannot accept that you’ve gone forever. 
Face to endlessness.
Refuse to acknowledge the fact of your passing. 
Flatness endless.
The fact of your death.
Unhappiness will reign.
In the end.

Sans Everything: Duetting with Beckett

This is a text work. This is the text: 
'As is is. 
Grey sky.
Is as is.
One step more in the endlessness.
Will be will be.
No sound no stir.
But I cannot accept that you’ve gone forever. 
Light of reason all gone.
Refuse to acknowledge the fact of your passing. 
Face to endlessness.
The fact of your death.
Flatness endless.
At an end.'

Collaboration of a kind with Samuel Beckett

This is a text work. In 1971, I produced an artwork which purported to be selling funerals, whereby the body would be taken into space and launched beyond earth's gravity into the universe. Today's work presents the original artwork from 1971 and above it is written: 'After 50 years, the relaunch of Outapace Funerals.

Worms or burn? No! There’s once again a choice.
Instead, join the universe. 
New, competitive rates. 
Ten percent reduction for victims of Covid-19.'

Outaspace Funerals

This is a text work. The text reads: 'Instead of making a work at work, can you make a home at home?'

What women have always been told to do

This shows a map of the USA with an arrow pointing more of less to the middle of the country (in fact it is Nebraska). The text beneath it reads: 30 longitude, 30 latitude, the middle of the USA (but not the centre)

Geographic 30/30

This work has two images of the night sky underneath each is text. Under the first the text read: 'Waiting and waiting and waiting. And waiting. The heat grasps even harder as the light fades and the wind drops. The day is ending and the truth is dawning. Slowly she’s knowing he won’t even come.' Under the second it read: 'Gripped by sadness she stays where she is.  Gazes at the arbitrary arrangement of millions of stars to which scientists attach numbers with lots and lots of naughts. To Van Gogh these stars were echoing his misery, but all she sees is cosmic indifference.'

Starry Night

This is a text piece. It reads: 'Wind! Ow!!'

Arctic gale

This is a text work. This is the text:
We’re all on a wooden ship, steaming full-speed ahead.

The ship’s engines ran out of fuel long ago. 

To keep rushing forward, we’re all sawing through the ship’s fabric, to feed the engines.

We’ve fed the lifeboats to the furnace and we’re now having to cut the fabric of the ship from below the water line.

We’re going faster and faster because we think that makes us happy.

We try to ignore how indulging our guilty pleasures means we’re all about to sink.


For this artwork I gave myself one hour to try to remember all the times I could remember meeting Garry Kennedy, from the first encounter in 1972. The artwork is dedicated to Garry and owes a huge debt to him, while also being a tribute.

Remembering all the times I met Garry Kennedy

This is a text work and this is the text: Be curious.

Defeat the deadening paralysis of dullening everydayness.

Explore anew. 

Make every day a special day.

Make every day a research day.

Explore Again, Explore Anew

This is a text work. This is the text: Making art is like climbing a cliff in pitch darkness, guided to the next handhold by a tiny voice. 
The best tool you can have amplifies this voice. 
Sometimes we stop on a safe, broad ledge and churn out the same, stale art. If so, we must heed this voice as it tell us to keep on climbing.

The Best Tool for Making Art

This is a text work. The text is in blue and this is what is written: Eat and drink well and regularly Sleep well and regularly 
Exercise well and regularly 
Shit well and regularly 
Make love well and regularly 
Laugh well and regularly.            
It might sound prosaic - but it provides the ideal platform from which joy can spring.

Six Steps to Joy

This is a text work. The text is as follows:
30 thinking you're old
30 plus 30 denying you're old
30 plus 30 plus 30 old