Of Divine Beauty & Hidden Grief

Nicholas Johnson is the artist behind Divine Excess, an online shop that sells bespoke pieces inspired by Mexican folk art and iconography. Here we find out more about the influences that inspire these intricate creations. From the saintly to the cult of Santa Muerte, Nick also shares some examples of his work whereby femininity is as prominent as death.


– Nicholas Johnson –


Nicholas is a mixed media artist from Liverpool. Lover of the macabre, Quentin Crisp and Joni Mitchell. He has exhibited in Berlin, Philadelphia, New York and London.



As a visual artist I have always been interested in iconography and folk art from across all the world religions. Ritual fascinates me and has become the strongest influence in my work. I love playing with the ritualistic aspects of religious decoration and devotion. As a collector of religious statues and macabre objects, I am constantly finding new sources of inspiration. Travelling to Rome and Paris has allowed me to explore my creative ideas and expand my creative direction. Visiting the Catacombs and learning the stories behind their construction has afforded me the opportunity to further develop my craft. I aim to merge different cultural influences together in a celebration of love, death, religion and art.

I opened the shop partly to fulfill my desire to work with such materials and develop these pieces, but also to share with you a piece of what makes this world such a beautiful place to live. For me, the history and intentions of those preceding us are seeping with an obvious beauty and a hidden grief.

It is this grief in which I believe the greatest and truest beauty can be found.

The cult of Santa Muerte intrigues me and you will regularly find her appear in my art. Her striking image has become iconic. She speaks to my kitsch Catholic curiosity. Mexican Culture approaches death and ritual in such a different way to England or America. I find it healthy to acknowledge that death will come to us all and draw comfort from my own mortality. Facing this fact encourages us to value life. Death shouldn’t be feared but embraced. Find confidence in the that we will all have our end come.

I post a great deal of my creations on Instagram so please stop by and see if anything catches your eye. I also post from my personal collection and although these items are not for sale they provide greater insight into my interests and divine inspirations.

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