A Southern American artist with an international following, Nall has a unique style that has captivated the attention of the world. The gifted artist grew up in Troy, Alabama and began drawing arts and crafts at his family’s city park at just four years old. Nall received a degree in Art, Political Science and Psychology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
In 1971, Nall was awarded top score entrance at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Surrounded by painters, musicians, and writers, he excelled among his contemporaries. At that point, he was mentored by Spanish Surrealist, Salvador Dali, who advised him to “Draw from life, draw, again and again…” He was also inspired by American psychedelic art, fauvism, impressionism and Japanese wash drawings but then returned to basic black and white drawing and on concentrating on building a solid artistic foundation on drawing skills.
Nall’s art reflects his surroundings. In 1974 he went to Beirut, Lebanon and North Africa. Fascinated by Arabic and Byzantine architecture, Alabama quilts, geometric form and Mondrian’s compositions, he segmented his works. In 1976 he moved to Nice, France where he symbolized pomegranates and flowers in many works–metamorphosing bones and insects.
A turning point in Nall’s life came in July of 1986 when he bought Jean Dubuffet’s studio in Vence, France, and began publishing his own line engraving, having apprentices which later led to purchasing the Karoly Foundation and rechristening it the N.A.L.L. Art Association. This seven acre estate is nestled in a small valley between Vence and Saint Paul de Vence, France. Sheltered under its olive groves, the estate has cabins and studios for artists and a studio-museum designed and built by Nall.
In February 1996, “NALL Technique and Symbole” was published. The publication, written by Alain Renner, Director of Sotheby’s Monte-Carlo and Paris accompanied the opening of Nall’s one man show in Gstaad, Switzerland. Later that year, Nall took part in the first exhibition of Natural Artists at The Natural History Museum in Paris, France.
Having exhibited his works all over the United States since 1971, Nall returned to his roots as artist in residence at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where students had the opportunity to apprentice in his on-campus studio and saw his retrospective at the “Sarah Moody Gallery. Nall’s “Jesus talks with the women of Jerusalem” was unveiled at the XII century Cathedral of Saint-Paul de Vence, France.
In 2000 Nall was the curator for “Alabama Art,” an exhibit of 13 Alabama Artists, with the aid of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Nall compiled the works and did the layout for the book titled “Alabama Art” published by Black Belt Press. This book won the Mary Ellen Lopresti ARLIS/Southeast Publishing Award for “Best Art Book” published that year in the Southeastern U.S.A. After serving two semesters as artist-in-residence at Troy University, Nall was awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Troy University, Alabama. In July, 2000 Nall created an illustration for the 51st Monaco Red Cross Ball per the request of H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco.
His 3 porcelain patterns “Tuscia’s Roses”, “Mediterranean Gold”, and “Sunrise Mosaic” produced by R. Havilland & C. Parlon of Limoges, France have been exhibited at international porcelain fairs at the Caroussel du Louvre in Paris, in Stuttgart, Germany, in the “Chateau do Bagatelle” in Neully, at “Podium” boutique in Moscow, and in New York’s “Arts and Crafts Museum” together with his Murano Glassware in a group show “Murano Memories.” The Tunisian Porcelain Company has produced for the Puccini Festival Fondazione’s “La Rondine” opera a tea service including a coffee mug and square plate”. Monaco Porcelain Makers have produced for the Monaco Women’s Lions Club a limited edition Artist collection of two “Vides Poches”, represented by his signature tulip and pansy.
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has purchased Nall’s work for a permanent exhibit. His entire collection of line engravings has been acquired by the Beaux Arts Museum of Nice for their permanent collection, which has a collection of Goya & Durer etchings. His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco commissioned Nall to create for the “Grimaldi Forum” in Monaco two flower mosaics in “L’Opio” “Sunrise” and “Sunset.” These monumental works measure 5m. x 5m. and have become the official postage stamp for Monaco in December, 2005. Nall’s sculpture the Monumental “Peace Frame” now overlooks Monaco Harbor much as the Christ sculpture overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
On January 24th 2005 The Tuscany Council for Culture unveiled Nall’s commissioned work “La Shoa” in memory of those Italians massacred on during World War II.
The “Fondazione Festival Pucciniano,” or Puccini Festival Foundation, commissioned Nall to do the sets, costumes and lighting for the opera “La Fancuilla del West” or “Girl of the Golden West” in 2005 in Torre del Lago, Italy as part of its “”Sculpting the Opera” program, which pairs visual arts and music. Because of the success of this production, the Puccini Festival Foundation again commissioned Nall to design sets and costumes for “La Rondine “in 2007. After its premier in August, Italian critics familiar with the Sculpting the Opera program wrote that Nall’s “La Rondine” was their most successful production since the program’s inauguration in 2000
In the summer of 2006 Nall exhibited a monumental art project throughout several cities in Europe, under the high patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco, which focused on Nall’s visual interpretation of the ‘Wounds of Humanity’ (“Violata Pax” in Latin). Nall transformed through computer generated images from his earlier paintings 52 Icon panels representing symbolic visuals of hunger, slavery, suicide bombing, environmental concerns and many other statements against inhumane and topical issues. In addition to the panels, Nall created two large scale bronze sculptures, an ornate frame, entitled “Peace Frame” which puts into focus the object seen through the frame. Not unlike Christo’s wrappings, which draw attention to a subject by concealing it, Nall’s “Peace Frame” puts into value the subject framed, and allows the public to stand in the frame for souvenir photos. His frame in Monaco was reported to have been one of the most highly photographed subjects in the Principality of Monaco in 2007. He has created also a monumental 15 foot high white injured dove with a wounded face and a missing toes, entitled “Violata Pax Dove”. One of which stands near the Kennedy monument and Freedom Tower on the Miami Dade Downtown campus, Miami, Fl.
Another Violata Pax Dove, along with several smaller doves make a dramatic entrance to the Pisa, Italy International Airport, which has also an interior Nall Installation, announcing the first non-stop Delta Airlines flight between Tuscany and New York City. This incredible installation includes the Monumental Peace Frame, Mosaic Façade, and 30 Violata Pax Icons and will be on view until the Summer of 2008.
In an unprecedented show of support for a contemporary artist, the St Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy requested the exhibition of icons and sculptures be installed in the Basilica, where 9 million people visited and traveled as pilgrims that summer. In addition, the city of Pietrasanta, Italy exhibited Nall’s icons and sculptures on the facades of buildings and in the center of the town square, along with an installation in the St Augustin Museum where artists such as Sandro Chia and Botero have recently exhibited their work.
In 2006 Nall was invited to collaborate with the urban Miami Dade College campus due to its rich diversity of students, and the A-Z messages of his work, touching contemporary topics.
As Artist-in-Residence of the New World School of he Arts at Miami Dade college during December 06 and January 07, he worked with selected art students, sharing his unique drawing techniques, print making and mixed media, along with methodology to assist young artists in reaching their artistic aspiration. His views and demonstration of a high work ethic and sobriety have had great impact on student apprentices. Nall provides the opportunity for students in a grant from the Nall Art Foundation to travel to Vence, France each summer, where they participate in a work-study program under Nall’s non-profit arts organization. Over the past 20 years Nall has selected over 150 students from the United States and Europe to stay in one of ten bungalows on his beautiful property in France, which has a dedicated artist studio, old printing press and exceptional natural environment in which to create. Previous students who benefited from the experience stated their lives were changed by taking them out of their everyday existence and allowing them to open their eyes to a new culture and art encounter.
Other highlights of Nall’s work in 2007 in addition to the success of “La Rondine” include his being named Alabama’s Distinguished Artist of the Year by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and having another edition of his “Peace Frame” installed in Pietrasanta, Italy, on a square directly between artwork of the sculptor Botero and the square named for Michelangelo Buonarroti. The “Peace Frame” installation also signified the beginning of an artists exchange between the City of Pietrasanta and the Tuscan region and the state of Alabama.
Nall has worked extensively with the RSA (Retirement Systems of Alabama) at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, the renovated Battle House Hotel in Mobile, Ross Bridge Hotel in Birmingham, Shoals Creek Hotel in Muscle Shoals, and other RSA properties for which he has selected “Alabama Art” to extend to tourism the wonderfully rich artistic wealth ,exhibited by artwork by himself and many other Artist Icons of Alabama origins.
Living in his home state of Alabama, in 2005 he completed building his studio in Fairhope, Alabama, where he invites apprentices to work with him.
To contact Nall, you may write to:
The Nall Foundation-Studio-Gallery
P.O. Box 1343
Fairhope , Alabama