Nicholas Baldridge, co-owner of Bakova Gallery, has had an interest in art since a very early age. Nick, originally from Kansas City, Missouri, now lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where the gallery is located. Baldridge’s grandfather was a professional artist as well as his biggest inspiration. Beginning with illustrations, Baldridge mostly worked with pencils and pens and gradually moved to paintings by the time he reached his twenties. Because his style has not changed immensely, Baldrige says he has “found his niche”, but is always trying new ideas.
Baldridge was able to find his art style through the realization that creating is a form of meditation for him and the sense of relaxation after completing a product. Watercolor paintings take him between two to three weeks to complete, oil takes approximately a month, and portrait sketches take around 20 hours. The messages in his art are kept simple in order to let his work speak for itself. Most of the ideas in his art are about human relationships, the environment, love, and stress. Nick started using wood as a canvas after discovering he could sand off the paint if he didn’t like what he made; the wood grain also gave him a starting point. Baldridge considers himself a successful artist when his paintings bring him happiness, clarity, and fulfillment. The color and amount of attention given to a piece are things he considers the most important factors. While never really knowing when paintings are done, he uses critiques from family and friends as queues.
Nick has always been an entrepreneur. So far, he has created businesses through street portraits, retail, an art supply store, and now a gallery and frame shop. He has also opened a few bars and plans to open a wine bar as part of Bakova Gallery. When asked about inspirations for his art, Baldridge stated that he prefers to stray from looking at trends and others’ work, but rather to focus on making his work completely original. He also mentions how he has never disliked any of his own work, that it is more about the process for him than the final product, but he is always working to improve the lines, fluidity, depth, and overall composition of the pieces.
To battle “slumps” in creativity, Baldridge enjoys hiking, spending time outdoors, and being with his dog, Mahomes. He enjoys listening to music while painting-- instrumental, heavy metal, and post-modern classical are some of his go to listens, but he also works well in complete silence. His hobbies outside of art are playing the drums and guitar as well as working out and staying healthy.