Nall has been drawing, painting and creating mosaics of flowers of all sizes for 40 years. Floral studies are one of his favorite themes. His recent exhibit, “Bouquets and Local Color, ” at the Eastern Shore Art Center, showcased that infatuation. Though having lived in the Baldwin County area for a decade, this was the Troy, Ala., native’s first local show.
Hundreds of visitors were enthralled with his oversized camellias, which seem to burst through their frames with exuberance and color. The big blooms are a scaled up version of a Nall-designed motif now featured on exquisite porcelain dessert plates by Royal Limoges of France.
Nall has a long-running career designing china patterns. One such design has become one of Haviland of France’s most popular styles internationally. The camellias that Nall and the Bellingraths chose as subject matter for the artist’s recent Royal Limoge of France porcelain collection illustrate the range of the flowers’ colors, from the pure white of “Bessie Bellingrath” to the bright pink of “Dancing Camellia” to the deep purple of “Black Magic.” Part of Nall’s style is to take the picture beyond the boundaries of paper and canvas, often extending the Pollock-style effect atop giclée prints and onto their frames. Nall describes his works as being “like a diamond in a setting, ” each can be lifted out and reframed to create something new.
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The eight different blossoms depicted were inspired by a gift to the artist from the Bellingrath family. Each plate bears the Bellingrath name on the back. The works are also a testament to an appreciation for porcelain that Nall learned from his grandmother. The local flower theme carries over into his equally beautiful handcrafted silverware collection.
The versatile artist, who recently created costumes and sets for the Puccini Festival in Italy, has been honored with more than 200 one-man shows in places as far-flung as Monaco, London, Paris, Nice, Antibes and Beirut. Yet his commitment to the local landscape, and to Alabama artists, is apparent in his philanthropic work. In coordination with the Bouquets show, he partnered with the Eastern Shore Arts Center to engage young students in the world of fine arts, hosting talks with teachers, students and youth groups at the gallery. “Feed the youth what they need, ” Nall says. The same philosophy led him to create fellowships for young artists through his self-titled foundation. In addition to mentoring budding talent, he donates approximately 200 works of art for charity auctions annually.
Nall’s studio on Equality Street in Fairhope is open daily, and his works are also available locally at Bellingrath Gardens and Home and Stowe’s Jewelers of Fairhope. Also, find his pieces on permanent display at the RSA Tower in Mobile and the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear.
Visit nallart.com for more information.