Freehand mural artist Nancy Daniell painted the windows of the Drummonds Bathrooms showroom for the Chelsea Design Quarter Autumn Design Trail, in collaboration with The BIID.
Nancy is a muralist & painter whose decorative & detailed work is designed both to elevate and animate interior spaces. She created a completely bespoke and unique design for the windows of the Drummonds showroom which compliments the stunning collection of classic bathroom products that stand the test of time.
1. What’s your personal style, do you have any Nancy Daniell Signatures?
To be honest my style continues to evolve and develop with each commission, mainly due to the bespoke nature of them and the fact that every job requires a new creative approach from me. Having said that, the subject of birds has certainly become a popular one and I think that for a lot of people they bring dynamism and movement to an interior space, as well as adding an element of nature to the indoors. I do love painting botanicals and birds and I suppose they have come closest to a signature style for me.
2. What inspired you to change career?
Well, I have been lucky enough to always work in creative environments. For the past nine years, I have worked in the film industry as a hair & makeup artist on wonderful productions such as Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, The Favourite & the latest James Bond; No Time to Die. It has been an amazing and varied few years but like so many industries, it ground to a holt when the pandemic struck and I found myself very much in need of a new creative outlet.
That is when I began to decorate the walls of the flat I was living in Hackney, before moving back to the countryside and starting to take commissions to paint other people’s homes. It really has been an amazing silver lining in such a turbulent time, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunities I have to explore where mural painting can take me.
3. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a muralist?
I think it is most likely the collaborative aspect of the work. It is rare that I am asked to paint a wall with whatever I like; most people have either a clear idea or certainly a persuasion of what they hope for the chosen space. Whether that be the impact that they hope for it to have or a specific inclusion of a subject matter such as jungle animals or birds. Either way, it requires a consultation process and for me, this is my opportunity to absorb as much as I can about the client and their aspirations for the artwork.
The satisfaction, therefore, arrives when our two visions come to fruition and I feel that I am able to deliver a design of lasting value for them personally.
4. How did you approach the Drummonds window project? Tell us about the sketch idea & brief
This was a new opportunity for me having never decorated a window or painted on glass full stop. After my call with Drummonds’Creative Director, James, where we had discussed early concepts and designs, I began to illustrate some of the ideas. They soon fluctuated and evolved as I began to realise that I would essentially be painting in reverse on the inside of the glass, as well as painting something temporary that would need to be easily removed in time.
With all this in consideration, I stepped away from the idea of painting and turned to chalk pens, something James had suggested early on in the process. These pens are highly pigmented and come in a range of colours and sizes, and were going to allow me much more flexibility when approaching the mural.
The design then evolved into more of an illustration, as I knew I would be working with these fine-tipped pens, I could apply the same level of detail and delicacy to the mural as I would to a sketch on paper. As for the narrative, it is essentially a nod to the popular chinoiserie wallpaper designs but with an autumnal twist, where the birds and animals are helping to shake rainwater from the fallen leaves into the bathtubs arranged by the showroom window.
5. Share something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas?
I suppose only that I feel as though this is just the beginning! There is a healthy amount of apprehension before every new project, but in balance, I continue to feel so excited at each new challenge and the opportunity to delve further into the creativity of the process.
I feel so lucky to be doing what I enjoy so much and grateful to be learning and evolving as an artist along the way.