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Entries in Chris Nelson (3)


Visual Jazz

There was an invitation to the studio, permission to choose whatever colors drew him and to slap them on acrylic with the beautiful unselfconsciousness of an almost-four-year old.

I could learn something from you, Chris said to Ezra.


I witness it every day, unselfconsciousness being one of the primary gifts of early childhood, but damn if I can imagine how to embody it.

For Ezra there was the thrill of spray paint and color and tools.  He was reserved but alert, as he tends to be.

For me there was the pleasure of pulling back the curtain on something unusual and special,

of receiving kindness from a new friend,

of watching a kind of visual jazz unfold in front of me.


In The Studio

I got to interview Chris in February for a short film our mutual friend Dustin was making, and it really got me thinking about what it means to be gutsy in your own work, and about how much I need and want to harness the power of that in my own creative journey.  (I'm working on it.)

In the months since then Chris and Dustin continued to work on the piece and it's ready to view!  Looking at it now I have to say that I just love hearing Chris talk about the interplay of his passions and how they feed and inform each other, making each element stronger.  I was on the edge of my seat during the original interview hearing him talk about his process and it's fascinating to watch again.  

And finally, this piece is just stunningly beautiful - both Chris' paintings and Dustin's shooting.  Blow it up to full screen, and enjoy.


Gutsy: Interview with an Artist

This is Christopher Owen Nelson, a painter and the subject of a short film a friend and colleague is making.  My friend asked me if I would interview Chris for the film and what followed was a coffee-fueled two hour conversation about how he knew he had to be an artist, what inspires him, his process, and the similarities between art making and fly fishing. 

Chris has created a technique of carving and painting sheets of acrylic into vivid images of the natural world. There are a lot of trees in his work, and he told me that he thinks of painting them as portraits rather than landscapes.  You've probably noticed by now how much I love both portraits and trees so this whole idea basically made me tingle.

Even in a weekend of snowy Colorado fun this stood out as a highlight for me.

I don't want to scoop the film, so I won't spoil too much about the conversation here.  But I will share this: we talked about what it looks like when gutsy shows up in your heart, studio, work.  Since I often get paralyzed in the thinking part of, well, everything, this part of his response struck me:

At some point, you just can't go around thinking your whole life.  You've got to pour some resin into a mold.  You've got to rip something out.

You've just go to do.  Do.


More doing.  Less thinking.  It was on my list of intentions for the year.  Here it is, showing up again.

What does gutsy look like for you?