Mat Nicolson is the creator of visions; his work is to carve out full scale design models in malleable clay. These clay models are created to facilitate the design of our cars in their earliest stages. This is literally the first time a designers idea appears as a physical object. These sculptures of ideas, will be continuously modified by hand until the design team is satisfied, creating a tangible three dimensional vision of how the production cars will eventually look.
Mat has worked in modeling for over 20 years, building countless dozens of clay models for the biggest names in the automotive industry before moving to Shanghai where he works with Geely Design on all clay models and auto show concept cars.
Sculpting seems to have come easy to Mat. When he was a child he would sit in the bath waiting for his mother to leave the room momentarily where he would find the time to carve soap destined to wash him into a dinosaur or the outline of a car.
From there on in, the passion to create art and sculpt became second nature to the Birmingham, UK native.
To further refine his soap-carving skills Mat studied fine art in university. Taking inspiration from life drawing classes and life sculpting, he worked across Europe before finally deciding to take an opportunity at the rapidly growing Geely Design Shanghai studio in 2012, a decision that he feels was taken at the right time.
Mat finds a certain solace in working with clay, he believes the flexible nature allows the clay to take a certain form that is difficult to visualize solely on the computer screen. His clay works can take up to two weeks to make where he spends hours focusing purely on the form of the car without taking coffee breaks or being interrupted by his mobile phone.
By his own admission, Mat has made countless dozens of clay models over his career, but he cannot be sentimental about his work as the clay models are eventually destroyed.
Whereas car designers see their works on the roads across the world, Mat only sees his work for an instant before they are stripped down and repurposed for the next project in development, but for Mat that is “fine – as this is the nature of clay.”
“Clay is just a canvas that allows us to see a physical representation of what the future product will look like and implement any proposed changes. Working with clay is dynamic, it’s exciting, and it allows us to see the future if only for a couple of days before they are taken back to the bare canvas again.”