beautiful materials

making beautiful things

Nicola Atkinson is an internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist and designer whose career has been influenced by time spent on the West Coast of America, in Sweden and living in Glasgow. Her dazzling public artwork specialises in place-making, social cohesion and community engagement and is displayed in museums and landscapes across Scotland, the USA, Cuba, Iceland and Europe. 

She is the founder of the participatory art and design studios NADFLY (2003 - 2020) and Beautiful Materials Design Studio (2018 - ongoing) She is currently working in the Marks & Spencer in Glasgow as a studio space.

Her practice is organic and generative, specialising in place making, social cohesion and community engagement, with a commitment to the delivery of well-conceived and durable artworks that inspire and prompt actions, interactions and reactions.

These interventions have been both large and intimate in scale and have influenced behaviour, changed community identities and formed active relationships with the built environment.

Nicola has turned her attention to this new way of working, zero waste approach to pattern cutting. Building up an impressive body of work using sumptuous and colourful painting materials, opulent Velvet & translucent Georgette fabrics, creating living artworks on wearable pieces.

In 2021, Nicola and her art studio Beautiful Materials exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the V&A Dundee. You can hear her talk on “Art Came in the Night”; a 2022 documentary on public art for BBC Radio 4, presented by artist Kevin Harman. “Memory Tree”, 2023, is the most recent example of her public artwork. This memorial is crafted in Scotland using high-grade stainless steel and installed permanently in Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen.

Clients have included museums, hospitals, architects, third sector and local authorities from across Scotland and internationally. She has had numerous exhibitions in international venues including Long Beach Museum of Art, CA, USA, Tramway and The Lighthouse, Glasgow, Scotland, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK.