War artist and one of England’s leading portrait painters, Nick Bashall, speaks to podcast host, Harry Bucknall, about his time working with the British Army in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan in a new episode of General Talk.
Discussing the consuming desire to capture what happened, Nick explains he doesn’t romanticise what he sees but feels “it’s important to capture ordinary human beings who are principled, modest, proud, dealing with extraordinary situations.”
Nick recalls a moment in Kosovo when General Sir Mike Jackson got in touch and said “we’re meeting the KLA in a couple of hours, I want you to record this.” Nick stood at the back of a room as Gen Sir Mike and NATO heads met Kosovan leaders. At that meeting he drew them initially to capture their proportions. He then painted in the background over a period of days and one by one he brought each individual to life for the finished painting.
His work with the British Army goes beyond such military summits and Nick felt he was at his strongest when painting from life on the streets in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sometimes there would be a 100 local people watching him. His careful recording of a way of life and street scenes underpinned the Army’s efforts to show their presence went beyond conflict and that it valued and respected local culture.
To hear more about Nick Bashall’s work with the British Army, listen to General Talk, our monthly podcast: https://audioboom.com/posts/7879991-episode-11-nick-bashall