About Nic Costa

The archive began in the mid 1970’s as a general studies essay about machine design, whilst Costa was studying at the Royal College of Art, London, UK. Costa realised that even though it was a genre that stretched back some 200 years, it had largely been ignored by researchers as something of little or no consequence. 

However, nothing could be further from the truth. In our current computer age, we are now living in the world dreamed of by the early exponents of the genre, to have a machine at home which in exchange for money gave the user a multiplicity of services at the touch of a button. It is only within the last few decades that the reality has caught up with the dream. 

This knowledge made Costa want to find out more, which he did in the ensuing years by researching in the British Newspaper Library, and the Patents Office Library, as well as interviewing individuals who had spent their entire lives in the industry, so much so that it made him an expert in the field, matched only at the time by the sterling efforts of Dick Bueschel in the States. 

Few realise that the current computer age would not have progressed with the astonishing speed it has without the early input of coin-operated games and game playing. It is an area that can see people collectively spend millions to satisfy what are otherwise mundane urges, which in turn feeds capital into a system demanding ever greater thrills and sophistication. 

We need to ask are we now on the verge of a modern version of Bulwer Lytton’s 1871 quasi vision of the future entitled ‘This Coming Race’, a world controlled, and peopled by mysterious robotic figures? 


1978 – Fine Art Masters Degree Royal College of Art, London 

1975 – Fine Art Honours Degree graduate of Fine Art from Ravensbourne College of Art, London           

1971 – Fine Art Foundation Maidstone College of Art, Maidstone 


Since graduation in 1978, Nic Costa has pursued a multi-disciplined career: Experimental Film-maker, Freelance writer, Cabinet Maker, Artist, Lecturer, and Educator. As an Antique Dealer, Costa became an acknowledged world authority on items of the 19th and 20th-century popular culture, he has also acted intermittently as an historical consultant to some of the major auction houses in London viz. Sotheby’s, Christies, and Bonhams, as well as other museums in the UK, such as the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, and the Museum of London 

In 1980 Costa helped set up the first-ever exhibition devoted to coin-operated machines at the Camden Arts Centre, which was funded by Camden Council. 

In the early 90’s he helped and advised on the setting up of the Masamura Takeuchi Pachinko Museum in Kobe, Japan. 

Between the late 80’s, and mid 90’s, Nic Costa appeared on a number of national television, and radio programmes in the United Kingdom and Japan. He was the subject of a special documentary programme on BBC Radio 4, which was chosen as their ‘Pick of the Week’. He has twice appeared on Nippon TV in Japan, once in a documentary and the second time in a popular game show with some of their leading performers. 

In 2002, Costa relocated to Cyprus where he founded  Tekni School of Art in Paphos, which he ran successfully until his retirement. 

Art Exhibitions, Awards, and activity

Please note: Over the years Nic Costa has deliberately refrained from entering the exhibition circuit or in producing art to order, or to please others. He has produced work solely to satisfy himself, yet in spite of this on the rare occasions he has submitted work, he has been met with success. He does not fit into the stereotype. 

2021 MA thesis entitled “The Case of a Willingly Peripheral Filmmaker: Issues of Power and Prestige in 1970s London” By Jenna Dobinson, Awarded a First by Birkbeck, University of London about Nic Costa’s Experimental Films 

2020 – 37 of the experimental films I made between 1968 – 1978 have now been included in the National Film Archive of the United Kingdom, as “the Nic Costa Collection” (Costa won an award in 1968 for a film I made entitled Who Am I- a Fairy Tale). 

2017 – “Idiosynchronism” art exhibition and installation Pafos, European Capital of Culture. 

2017 – “The Corner of a Foreign Field”, a joint project with Lia Lapithi in Lemona Pafos, European Capital of Culture. 

2014 – Awarded First Prize Human Rights Art Competition with ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ organised by the European Public Space Cyprus, European Parliament Office in Cyprus, European Commission in Cyprus, Embassy of the Netherlands in Cyprus, US Embassy in Cyprus, and the Norwegian Embassy in Cyprus. The painting was subsequently purchased by the Cypriot governemt and added to the national collection. 

2007 – Costa invited and hosted the celebrated Repin Academy professor Mogilevtsev to lead life drawing master classes at Tekniart in Paphos. 

2007 – Costa invited and hosted a visit to Cyprus by the internationally famous Guerrilla Girls who gave a performance at Tekniart. 

2007 – He was selected to be one of a panel of international judges for the UN sponsored Art Attack competition in Cyprus. 

2006 – Costa took part in life drawing master classes with Professor Vladimir Mogilevtsev at the Repin Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. 

2005-2011 – Nic Costa founded Idiosynchronism a conceptualist project which attracted upwards of 60 artists worldwide including the noted American Art Critic Marcus Reichert. It was widely imitated but rarely credited. 

2005-2007 – Co-founder and president of Open Studios for Paphos and Limassol. 

2002-2015 – Relocated to Cyprus where  he founded and ran the Tekni School of Art in Paphos. 

1999 – Award winner with “Killing the Goose”, Notes from the Underground exhibition, Dostoyevsky Foundation St Petersburg, Russia. 

1998 – Award winner with “Chain Gang”, World Wide Web, Primrose Hill Gallery, London competition. 

Articles about Nic Costa’s Art

2008 – A pain in the Arts- Idiosynchronism, Seven Magazine, Cyprus. 

2009 – Idiosynchronism, a movement for the 21st century? Artetri Magazine, Cyprus. 

2010 – Art has become Accessible- Nic Costa’s art Stil Gizni, Cyprus (In Russian). 

Articles published

2009 – Proximity Art Magazine, Chicago (contributor). 

2007-2010 – Arteri Fine Arts Magazine, Nicosia, Cyprus (regular columnist). 

2006-2011 – The Grapevine Magazine, Paphos, Cyprus (intermittent Art columnist). 

1987 – Antiques Today, London, UK. 

1982-1983 Location Magazine, Oldham, UK (monthly columnist). 

1980-1989 – The World’s Fair, Lancashire, UK (weekly columnist). 

1980-1984 – The Coin Slot Wheatridge, Colorado, USA (monthly columnist). 


Since 1988, Costa’s written work has been cited in numerous learned journals and books published world-wide in many different languages. Please see: 

Books Published, Select Bibliography: 

2013 – Adam to Apophis: Asteroids, Millenarianism, and Climate Change, D’Aleman Publishing, Lemona Cyprus. ISBN-10: 9963291708 

2013 – More Automatic Pleasures, D’Aleman Publishing, Lemona, Cyprus.  ISBN-10: 9963291740 

1988 – Automatic Pleasures English Edition Kevin Francis Publishing London ISBN: 1-870703-00-6 American Edition Seven Hills Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. (June 1988) ISBN-13: 978-1870703000. Republished in Italian 1992. Republished, D’Aleman Publishing 2013 

Idiosynchronism– was a conceptual art movement founded in Paphos in 2005, it was voluntarily disbanded in 2011 following its quinquennial. In its brief existence, it attracted upwards of 60 adherents worldwide, including prizewinning artists, theorists, and art educators. It arguably engendered subsequent ‘coincidental’ art activities in a number of locations including London, New York, and St Petersburg. 

2017 Pafos European Capital of Culture 

Idiosynchronism, an installation/ exhibition hosted by Nic Costa, graduate of the Royal College of Art, in the name of 2 conceptualised individuals located in the back streets of Paphos and dedicated to “… a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more:… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We invite you to walk along a little section of the back streets of central Paphos, and breath in the atmosphere of the empty shops, derelict businesses premises, broken dreams, and promises of the recent past. Find if you can the scattered artworks painted by two individuals who never met but shared a common bond in Idiosynchronism: The Divine Mother Hubbard and the late Jemima Puddleduck 

Note: Unbeknown to adherents and visitors at the time the latter two identities as well as 3 more were alter egos of Nic Costa at different stages of his life.