Nick Bashall was born in England in 1956. His father was a British army officer, his mother a portrait artist.They emigrated to the then British colony of Southern Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] in 1957 when his father joined the colonial forces. Nick was one year old. His entire schooling was in Rhodesia at the end of which he served 18 months in compulsory military service during the bush war against the nationalist forces of Robert Mugabe.
Nick returned to England at the age of 20 to study law at Cambridge University , where he was also the heavyweight boxing blue. He practised law for a few years in London, Dubai and Pakistan before returning to his first love, art. He then studied at the art school of JoaquimtTorrents Llado in Mallorca, Spain for 5 years. Llado was one of Spain's most successful portrait and landscape painters before his premature death at 47. His school drilled his pupils in the basic skills of draughtsmanship and painting, following traditional teaching techniques largely abandoned elsewhere in Europe.
Since leaving art school 12 years ago, Nick has developed an impressive portraiture clientele , including HRH the Princess Royal, the family of the Duke of Westminster, General Sir Michael Jackson, and Mr Bill Powers, President of the University of Texas, to name a few.
He is also a popular and prolific painter of children in both charcoal and oil.
Apart from his portraiture, he has an established reputation as a war artist. The British Army has invited him several times in the last decade to paint in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Under its protection, he has painted large canvases from life on the streets, always with crowds of local inhabitants looking on.
In 2004, he founded the Lavender Hill Studios which he is no longer connected to and In 2016 He and Nicky Philipps joined forces in their historic Flood Street studios in central Chelsea to share their combined and considerable knowledge in the Rossetti Studios, purpose built for artists in the 1890's.
Nick explains his motivation for starting an art school grounded in traditional teaching techniques thus .....
"I was always drawing and painting as I was growing up in Rhodesia, happily and splendidly ignorant of how art was developing elsewhere. We all lived in something of a cultural backwater there, isolated by the economic sanctions imposed by the rest of the world because Rhodesia's then leaders had refused to hand over power to the African majority . Sanctions meant we had almost no access to contemporary books, film, television programs or music from abroad ,
The extent of my cultural oblivion only hit me when I returned to Europe as a young man .I began to visit the national galleries. These clearly displayed in orderly sequence how image making had changed over time and how we had arrived at the art of today, the world of concepts and installations .Although marveling at the modern, I nevertheless I found myself always going back to the rooms that displayed the old masters. How did they paint like that ? I wanted to find out so I enrolled part time at various art schools in London , a part timer as I was working as a lawyer in the day. The experience was always the same... beyond being advised that the leg I had drawn was too long or the arm too short , I learned little of the basic time honoured fundamentals of drawing and painting. The little I learned I learned by my own trial and error.
Some would say that that is the only way an artist can learn and certainly there is no substitute for trying a lot and making many errors .But equally, there are generations of artists and many maestros who knew and applied certain tried and tested fundamental principles .Trying to discover them all over again for myself would be like reinventing the wheel and a dangerous waste of time. I could not help thinking that there must be out there somewhere a school that could teach something of these tried and tested principles in a more logical complete manner than simply advising in a random fashion that the leg I had drawn was too long.
I was lucky. I stumbled on such a school , Joaquim Torrents Llado's school in Mallorca. He broke down the basic skills into distinct and separate stages , which you strove to master one at a time and in a logical sequence, each stage naturally leading into the next.
When I started the Lavender Hill Studios art school and subsequently Studios Bashall Philipps, I had in my mind the frustrations of my earlier years trying to find a school that could teach me in a logical way at least some of what those old maestros I so admired must have known.
We do not seek to imitate Llado's or any other art school but have evolved our own way which pulls on mine and Nicky's respective experiences.We seek to give clear practical instruction in a logical sequence of traditional drawing and painting techniques. We make no apologies for our retro adventure, and happily trust that representational painting has its place alongside any other form of the visual arts, just as in music, classical exists easily alongside jazz, R&B, pop etc.
Contact Nick Bashall directly:
Telephone: +44 (0) 7900 546502