New book celebrates TROY’s relationship with Nall

The book Nall at TROY focuses on the renowned artist's work as well as his time at Troy University.

The book Nall at TROY focuses on the renowned artist's work as well as his time at Troy University.

NewSouth Books is publishing a new book by Troy University exploring and celebrating the long and fruitful relationship between world-renowned artist Fred “Nall” Hollis and Troy University.

“Nall at TROY: An Internationally Regarded Alabama Artist Comes Home” highlights the Troy native’s decades of artwork, much of which is located in the Fred Nall Hollis Museum inside TROY’s International Arts Center.

Featuring an introduction by former Alabama State Council on the Arts Executive Director Al Head, “Nall at TROY” commemorates the prodigious gifts of a great artist and the unique relationship he enjoys with one of Alabama’s premier learning institutions.

“For more than two decades, Nall has graced TROY with his brilliant art,” said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. “We are proud that our University has become a showcase for his work from throughout his storied career. This book is a wonderful reminder of the impact one person can make and of the important role of the arts in society.”

Nall’s art ranges from large-scale mixed-media collages to smaller portraits and paintings.

The book features galleries of his work, showing readers the pieces that have made him a cultural icon.

His connection with the University includes an honorary doctorate and a long tenure as artist-in-residence.

“If they ever do an autopsy on Nall, they will find he is not human,” said renowned Alabama sculptor Bruce Larsen. “He is a primal force of nature, more observant and alive than anyone I’ve ever met. This book captures the very essence of an Alabama boy turned international icon.”

After attending the University of Alabama during the turbulent 1960s, Nall ventured to Europe and developed relationships with some of the West’s most influential figures, including Salvador Dali, James Baldwin, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Ringo Starr.

His career blossomed in Europe, but Nall began to feel a longing for his hometown of Troy and artists with whom he might find a close kinship.

“We are thrilled at the International Arts Center to soon offer the newly published ‘Nall at TROY’ book to our visitors to enrich their experience of visiting the Nall Museum and Gallery,” said Carrie Jaxon, director of the International Arts Center. “The book is a beautiful collection of Nall’s artwork from the varying stages of his long and successful artistic career. It allows the reader to step into Nall’s journey, from a young boy in his grandmother’s garden in Troy, winding around the world, and back again. ’Nall at Troy’ gives insight into the artist behind some of the boldest work ever created in Alabama, while showcasing some of the work that earned him worldwide respect.”

The book was sponsored by the Mary and Manuel Johnson Foundation and the Watson-Brown Foundation.

“I think it’s only fitting that a book will be published to describe Nall’s association with TROY, the development of his art, and to catalog an important part of his collection,” said Dr. Manley Johnson, a TROY alumnus and one of the book’s sponsors. “I think this book will be a great way for people to learn about Nall and his work, as well as what TROY is doing to promote the arts.”

The book, which was sponsored by the Mary and Manuel Johnson Foundation and the Watson-Brown Foundation, will be available through Troy University by calling Meredith Welch at 334-670-5924. For a special donation  you will receive a signed book and a framed print of one of Nall’s signature Camellias – available only through Troy University. The “Nall at TROY” book only will be available at local and online retailers beginning in April 2021.