Neil Nelson

Spread A Little Happiness by Neil Nelson
Kitchen Heroes by Neil Nelson
A Bit On The Side by Neil Nelson
Thereís something very warming and comfortable and altogether homely about leading contemporary figurative and fine artist, Neil Nelsonís hallmark illustrative pieces, all of which leap from the canvas. Thereís also something very familiar about the subject matter, not least in the typography, fonts and assorted bottle and jar shapes and sizes which form a sizeable percentage of Nelsonís back catalogue of compositional work. HP Sauces, Marmite, Gales, Jack Daniels, Tate and Lyle and Colmans all being instantly recognisable to any Englishman or woman worth their condiments, and hailing from a certain time and place.

The time and place in Nelsonís specific case, was 1977 (the year of his birth), whilst the place was Berwick-upon-Tweed situated in Northumberland, on Englandís North East coast. He still lives there to this day, having originally studied Fine Art at Northumberland College of Art and Design, before heading off to southern France (and the Studio Escalier) to further his knowledge and skillset in Classical Realism. It was at this renowned institution that Nelson trained under the watchful eye of such celebrated artists as Timothy Stotz, N.Michelle Tully and master draughtsman and painter, Ted Seth Jacobs.

What Nelson came away from there with was a solid understanding of just about every individual aspect and graphical element associated with Classical Realism, which he could employ with relish (if you pardon the pun) to a range of genres and styles; in Nelsonís case everything from still life and portrait through to figurative drawings and paintings. However itís in the subject context highlighted in the intro where Nelson is really making a name for himself to date, and gaining ever the reputation in a still life context for his incredibly realistic illustrative interpretations of his notably small, earthy and often solitary fruit, bottles and jars. Indeed, Nelsonís well-received ĎCompartmentí series was met with much acclaim when released of late, which visually sees a collection of the aforementioned household name food and drink products considerately pictured within a carefully structured wooden framework, creating an organic and vibrant composition with an intense sense of both light and depth.

Describing these pieces which more than anything promote Nelson in a truly favourable artistic light, the popular artist says; ďOn a basic level, I aim towards realism in my work. To the best of my ability I try to paint what I see and understand about the subject. Painting, for me, is a journey towards understanding - a quest for knowledge and an on-going struggle to understand nature and to decipher the effects of light on the world aroundĒ. Thereís no doubting in our mind that Nelson paints with an abject honesty seldom seen in this genre, as he routinely strives to seek out and project an element of truth and innate source of beauty from what others might consider to be a mundane and uninspiring subject matter.

As far as Nelson is concerned his primary concern as an artist is to look beyond the initialphysical appearance which first greets him, and to work towards the muse taking a deeper level of form and artistic function than it might have done previously, and so to begin provoking an emotional response form the casual observer who at first glance might pass it off for what it undoubtedly still is. Nelson adds; ďI want to elicit some kind of reaction or sympathy for an object which appears to be striving to communicate, or reaching outwards to be more than it first appears. I am trying to show something which I feel is mysterious or hidden about the object, to transform something humble into something majesticĒ.

And thereís no arguing that Nelson doesnít achieve just this with his illustratively blessed pieces which afford the less obvious with a depth of character and sense of purpose and for want of a better descriptive word, desire, that theyíve never managed to pull off before, even after brief appearances in the world of Pop Art; although in that creative sense a huge departure from where we see them today in a typical Nelson presentation.

Nelsonís work has been showcased at the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of the BP Portrait Award, the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, where in 2008 he also gave a talk about his work, as well as being the subject of exhibitions at Londonís Mall Galleries with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. In addition to this, Nelson has had local solo exhibitions and group exhibitions in Newcastle, Edinburgh, London and New York, and his work is featured in collections in the UK, Europe and across America to date.

View All Art Works By Neil Nelson