The Early Days
Nolan Clark was born and raised near Johannesburg South Africa, qualifying as an Electronic Engineer as well as an Instrumentation Technician. Working in a factory or workshop for a boss was however never Nolan’s idea of the ideal occupation. From his school days he always wanted to run his own business, ideally one by the seaside. His first venture into business was a mobile disco when he was still in the army, then a video business over weekends. Neither lasted very long as he soon found out that to work full time and run a business simply takes up more hours than there are in a day. He then resigned and started a full time printing company which he and his wife ran for 10 years. It was a great learning curve for him, but still not anywhere near his ideal.
Meanwhile in 1995 Nolan discovered he had a natural feel for the arts when he couldn’t find a printer to design a suitable logo for his video business. Out of frustration he sat down and drew it himself. Being surprised with the result he promptly signed up for a pencil drawing seminar by his father, Dennis, a professional artist.
Nolan eventually took his love of art professional in 2000 when he opened his own teaching studio in Brakpan, just outside Johannesburg. The aim was to franchise the business in partnership with Dennis. He and Dennis then tested the franchise model for three years before they were satisfied that everything worked 100%. They subsequently went on to setup and build the biggest art teaching franchise in South Africa – The Paint Basket
Besides his duties as Franchise and Marketing Manager of The Paint Basket, Nolan conducted 5 weekly classes at his Brakpan studio, teaching his students to paint in oils. He also ran monthly workshops and quarterly pencil drawing seminars. He was regularly invited to demonstrate his techniques to art clubs throughout the Johannesburg area. He also regularly organised exhibitions for The Paint Basket students. He and Dennis were also the first to pioneer the Art Safari concept in Africa, eventually trade marking “Painting South Africa”.
When Nolan’s first daughter was born he realised that it was time to take more serious action to turn his dreams into reality. With the quality of education dropping steadily in South Africa, Nolan and Mel (his wife) decided that the best option would be to emigrate. They soon decided that New Zealand had the most to offer, including the dream of a seaside lifestyle.
What is Nolan up to now?
On 29 August 2008 they landed in New Zealand to take up their permanent residence. They currently live on a scenic peninsula (Whangaparaoa) just outside Auckland City. This is the view they now wake up to every morning :
For Nolan the move to New Zealand has been a dream come true, not only because he gets to live by the sea, but also because New Zealand is an artists heaven. Everywhere you look is a story waiting to be captured on canvas.
Meet New Zealand’s Newest Kiwi Artist :
For the first time in my life I wake up every morning with anticipation of the day ahead. What am I going to paint today, what can I do to improve my art today, how can I get more people to see and appreciate what we have here in the most beautiful country on earth – New Zealand? I have truly “come home” at last!
On Selling Art
I take my art very personally, each painting I paint is a part of me. Although I don’t mind parting with a painting, as I know that it is going to bring many years of joy to it’s new owner, it still always feels like a part of me follows that painting. It is this emotional bond that I have with my paintings that I want to share with you.
Even if you eventually buy one of my paintings in a gallery and never meet me face to face, I want you to feel as though you know me so that my artwork hanging on your wall will have the same meaning to you as it does to me. If even only a tiny tiny drop of my passion for art and my love of painting can rub off on you, then I will have succeeded.
On Teaching Art
Teaching art must be one of the most satisfying professions in the world. Every day I see people changing for the better right in front of my eyes. I see them not only learning a new skill, but also learning to see the world around them in a different way. They start to notice things that they never noticed before, they start to appreciate the beauty of nature even more than they did before. The most satisfying part of my work however is seeing the most amazing art works being produced by people that had always thought they couldn’t even draw a stick man. How cool is that?
This passion for art has allowed Nolan to establish himself as one of the most sought after and followed art tutors in the world today, teaching in excess of 1 million students online every year how to improve their art