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.
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.
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 realise that they can also create awesome art?
As Nolan’s skill and ability grew he found that his classes were more and more in demand. In 2010 he decided to expand his reach by moving his classes online, becoming one of the first artists to teach live online art classes. Since then he has taught over 3 million people how to paint and draw online. On this site you will find the largest collection of Nolan’s classes in one place.
Isn’t the Internet amazing, I can be on one side of the earth, and you can be on the other, yet we can still learn from each other as though we are sitting next to each other.
(Stuff you can actually use to improve your art)