The home of Richmond artist Lee Baskerville served as the photo shoot location for our first collection of November Short Run Shirting. During my short time with Lee, it quickly became apparent that Lee is the kind of person who pursues any interest or challenge with earnest and unreserved enthusiasm. Throughout the course of our conversation for our Meet Our Friends segment, we touched on myriad subjects, but here we chose to highlight five key components of Lee’s life which seemed most central to our discussion- the thrill of adventure in the great outdoors, the perks of being an artist, the necessity to expand one’s creative sphere, the joy of appreciating art, and travel. Lee and I caught up with each other one final time for the artist to share his thoughts on a few of the essential components that make up his life pursuits.
The thrill of adventure in the great outdoors
It’s important to work hard but also to play hard. Work first, then play. My father was in the safari industry so we grew up hunting and fishing at fantastic locations all over the world. I have continued this adventurous pattern and expanded upon it a bit… I love to hunt, fish, ski, and ride horses and motorcycles. I have hunted much of the world’s big and small game (some of which is on view at Ledbury!). I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to ski most of the world’s greatest mountain ranges – Some special highlights would be Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Big Sky, Montana. I frankly prefer to be outside, but when I have to be inside, I try to make it as enjoyable as possible.
The perks of being an artist
I have met many extraordinary individuals through my artistic career. One of the major perks of my business, especially as a commissioned portrait painter, is having the opportunity to meet, spend a lot of time with, and ultimately become close to some of the world’s most fascinating, driven, charismatic, and successful individuals. The most valuable assets I have are my client relations, and without their confidence, trust, and ultimate happiness with the final product, and me, I have little to show for my efforts. I have been blessed with the relationships I have made through my art and it has been an exceptional experience.
Even if it is not in your first line of work, leveraging one’s creative ability can equal multifold rewards and will help improve other directions of work that you pursue. I have a background in studio art, but also in architecture, and art history. As an aside, I started investing in old antebellum apartment buildings back in the ‘90’s, which turned out to be quite successful. As the level of quality in my buildings improved I needed a high-end custom look for my spaces, but on a tight profit margin. The root of my work began as a necessity; if I couldn’t find the furnishings that I wanted, I made them. Furniture design, much like interior design, is something I backed into just for the need of having to find solutions for myself.
The joy of appreciating art
I don’t acquire anything that I do not authentically appreciate, and I would not recommend anyone collecting for any other reason. Develop your own sense of style, and trust it. Study as much as you can, because it will make the experience more profitable, if you are an investor, but never forget the personal element of your own opinion and feeling toward any work of art. I’m not a very material guy myself, but I’ve always appreciated extraordinary craftsmanship because I’m a craftsman myself. Seeing what other people produce when they really push their skills as a craftsman is very inspirational. By exploring other people’s creations in detail, you learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses as a craftsman, artisan, and designer.
Travel and perspective
Travel puts everything into perspective, but it can really make one appreciate the values, and opportunities afforded those living in the USA -What a marvelous land of opportunity we live in! As far as places I have gone with relation to my art. I have received some amazing travel oriented commissions simply by suggesting them to appropriate clients. Some of the early highlights that come to mind…when I was 27, I was sent to Switzerland for a couple of weeks to paint the view across Lac Leman. Later that same year, I traded a commercial job for a two-week hunting/camping safari in Zimbabwe. After those early successes, I was hooked forever, and I have had the pleasure of working in Hawaii, the Azores, all over Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, and recently in the Middle East.
*All photographs courtesy of Lee Baskerville