Our Commissioning Artist, Nichol Wheatley, is also the creator of two paintings from our Spirit of Art range, Benrinnes and Linkwood. As well as finding artists to create the bridge between whisky and art, Nichol is delighted to be commissioned himself to be part of the Spirit of Art range.
“Landscape painting is increasingly important to me,” Nichol said. “It’s an honour to do two paintings that link to whiskies that I love.”
Nichol’s first painting, ‘On the way to Linkwood’, is a landscape study of the river Spey and the second, ‘Ben Rinnes Hill’, depicts the distillery itself with the hill looming in the distance. “It’s amazing how whisky can take you to a place. It’s like magic teleportation.”
Nichol’s artistic career has been unconventional yet fascinating in equal measure. Born into a family of lawyers and politicians, Nichol bypassed the obvious familial career paths to study at Glasgow School of Art.
Despite a sell-out degree show, Nichol stepped away from art for a number of years, working in a range of jobs, from a bouncer to a blacksmith, but he never stopped drawing.
Nichol returned to art full time when he founded Perfect Circle Art, a commercial fine art company after being inspired while labouring on a building site after overhearing the owner and designer of the project discussing their plans. “They asked me to stop drilling so they could talk. They wanted a curved wall with a painting of a bullfight on it, but they couldn’t work out how to do it. So, I offered to help. The solution was a canvas on a curved frame, painted in situ. The client was delighted.”
In 2016 he staged his first show of paintings and is known for his large cycle of murals depicting the tale of Tam o’ Shanter by Robert Burns and his collaboration with the late Alasdair Gray.
Today, Nichol’s client list is extremely diverse providing consultancy all over the world, creating artworks for film, and TV and working with designers and architects on a broad range of projects, from pub interiors to the homes of premiership footballers.