We’ve followed Nichole Blackburn’s artistry throughout the years. She’s a gifted artist who not only works on incredible commissions for her Celadon Studio but also donates her time and efforts to philanthropic efforts throughout the world via her non profit organization, Big Sky Countries. We’re honored to showcase her Modern Masters projects with you.
Born in Redondo Beach, California, Nichole Blackburn received her B.A. in Fine Art and Design from San Diego State University and after graduation, she went head first into her art career, and is currently the Owner and Creative Director of Celadon Studio and Fine Art, a Los Angeles-based business whose main focus is large-scale murals and decorative painting.
Always maintaining a creative edge, she continually trains all over the world with the top muralists and decorative painters in the industry. Most recently, Nichole moved abroad to Paris, France (2014-2015) to study with world-renowned decorative painter Jean Sable at his atelier in Versailles. Prior to that, Nichole spent a month on the East Coast studying under William Cochran, one of the country’s leading trompe l’oeil muralists. During this time she joined a select team of six artists who worked on a five-story public mural project called “The Dreaming”. Nichole has brought her unique style and artwork to numerous Los Angeles hot spots, celebrity homes and landmark hotels. Working with some of the best architects, interior designers and ateliers in the industry, Nichole has built a solid reputation and a name you can trust.
What is the most inspiring space or place you have visited?
I absolutely love to travel. By the time I was in my 20s I had visited over 40 countries and was by no means slowing down. I would say the last country I visit is usually the most inspiring and influential in my art. I had the pleasure of spending the last year studying with Jean Sable at his decorative painting school in Versailles, France, which is located across the street from the Palace of Versailles. Jean Sable is a joy to study under, a true craftsman that honors the traditions and style of French decorative painting. Under Jean’s tutelage, I painted everything from classical marbles and wood grain techniques, to large-scale panoramic murals, as well as trompe l’oeil and chinoiserie. I was the only American in an all-French class, and with that came the challenge of all lessons taught in French, lectures about pigments and products only available in Europe, and executing painting techniques that relied on the skills and working knowledge applied from each demonstration. Studying with Jean Sable has been one of the most inspiring painting experiences I have had, and it continues to influence my painting in a big way.
Sky Cloud Mural created with Tintable Glaze.
A luxe shimmer was added to a princess crown mural with Metallic Paint.
What is your most memorable, challenging, or rewarding project?
My most rewarding work has been with my nonprofit, Big Sky Countries. Big Sky Countries is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 whose main focus is donating large-scale murals to children’s facilities around the world. Murals have been painted in Thailand, Ireland, the Philippines, Bolivia, New Orleans, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Atlanta, New Jersey, and all over the Los Angeles area. These children’s facilities include elementary schools, orphanages, children’s hospitals, teen shelters, libraries and youth centers. All children, faculty members, and well, everyone is encouraged to paint!
I started Big Sky Countries when I was in my 20s, after realizing that making loads of money was surprisingly not the key to happiness. For me, creative freedom paired with traveling, as well as painting with children was far more satisfying. I grew up an art brat in high school, always ditching my other classes to go to the art studio, and I would stay up all night drawing in my sketchbooks. I wasn’t always the best student, but when it came to art I was totally confident and free. In schools where art programs have been taken away, especially for kids that are not academically inclined, I want to show that art can be a huge success, both mentally and as a career choice. Some of the most brilliant children I have painted with were also the most withdrawn, anti-social and considered misfits. Funny enough, I relate and paint the best with these kids.
Under the Sea Mural for Big Sky Countries created with the help of various Modern Masters products.
How has Modern Masters enhanced your business?
I love the Modern Masters products. Modern Masters have a great reputation and it’s not hard to see why. I have used Modern Masters paints for years, particularly the Metallic Paints, as well as the Glazing Cream Colorants in the earth tones/browns. The consistency and quality of the products is wonderful. I love the Modern Masters Metallic Plasters, as well. By layering them in different consistencies I am able to achieve a wide range of effects, giving me the chance to really push my finishes and samples. The Metallic Paints are a go-to for me, especially the gold’s, which come in a variety of colors that fit perfectly with my Clients’ discerning needs.
California Diamond Jubilee Half Dollar created with Glazing Cream and Glazing Cream Colorants in dark brown hues.
Children’s Enchanted Forest and Tree Mural in a reading corner nook at the Trenton, NJ Library. Nichole used Glazing Cream and Glazing Cream Colorants to help paint the inspired 200 foot wall painting. Nichole donated the mural, valued at about $25,000, through her Big Sky Countries non-profit.
Four panel coffered dining room ceiling reflects a soft metallic glow. Nichole used our Metallic Paints for both the scrollwork and the faux woodgrain.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Nichole’s extraordinary artistry – and her big sky country heart! To learn more about her private commissions, please visit her Celadon Studio site. Head to Big Sky Countries to see more of the donated murals she’s painted, learn more about her mission, and to help support giving the gift of art. Thank you, Nichole, for sharing your time and incredible projects with us!