Nikolo Balkanski began painting at very early age and graduated from the Medium Special Arts School in Sofia, Bulgaria, when he was 18. At just 21, he held his first solo exhibition, Time and People, featuring portraits of some of the country’s leading actors, poets and politicians, organized by his father, who is attorney, writer and poet.
This unique show garnered a lot of attention for the young artist, and he soon continued his studies at the art academy in Sofia, specializing in paintings. After moving to Finland with his parents, he studied at the University of Helsinki.
In 1981, Nikolo’s portraits of a variety of Finnish figures were exhibited in a show called,”Finland in Portraits”, organized by the Finnish-Bulgarian Friendship Society with chairman Pekka Silvola, director of the Finnish radio. The show celebrated 1300 years of Bulgarian statehood. In 1983, Nikolo’s portraits were exhibited again, Faces of Humanity at the October Gallery in the United Kingdom. The London exhibition became the subject of a BBC documentary.
Upon seeng Nikolo Balkanski’s exhibition at the October Gallery in London, John Allen, art critic from United States described his work: “Alert a moment of being, engaged with a world that could dissolve to chaos but harmonized by attention. TYhe portraits show individuals at a characteristic moment of meaning the fateful conjunction of type, personality and environment”.
In 1984 and again in 1985, Nikolo was invited to Colorado to paint and to exhibit his work, but he returned to his home in Finland. After his relocation to Evergreen, Colorado, in 1986, Nikolo began devoting more time to painting the western US landscape, although he continues to paint portraits, still lifes and figurative works to this day.
Over the years, Nikolo has been involved in countless solo and group exhibitions, including Artists of America, Great American Artists, Artists of the West, The Brinton 101, Oil Painters of America, Stampede Western Invitational, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, The Russell Exhibition and Sale, Western Visions and others. His works are represented in private, corporate and museum collections.