Nelson doesn’t usually sculpt human figures. It is lovely and languid. A young woman stretches on tip toes, skirt flounced and braids hanging from her upward angled head. The arms balance beautifully, one pointed downward as the other stretches fully skyward to release a hawk from her fingertips. Stylistically, it incorporates Nelson trademark openings, so that space plays an important part in the visual appreciation, and reddish-brown patinas. Like the many species of birds – to say nothing of turtles, rabbits and the occasional lizard – Nelson sculpts, ‘Letting Go’ is representational and impressionistic. “My style is to be fluid and spontaneous, intent upon capturing movement and natural gestures,” he says. “Obviously, working with steel means exacting detail isn’t part of the finished sculpture. It’s one reason openings are important to my work, you can look into and through them. It creates an interesting dynamic.” ‘Letting Go’ is certainly dynamic, but it is also graceful and full of conveyance. Nelson’s statement for his sculpture gets the message he lives by across, simply and eloquently.
I grew up with lakes and forests and loved being in the outdoors and studying the animals that live here. I started welding in my high school art class at age 15 and 2 years later I had my own set of welding tanks. At age 17, I was accepted into my first juried show. In 1969 I graduated from the University of Minnesota with an art education degree with a major emphasis on metal sculpture. Out of college I taught art on a Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota and also in a public school in Boise Idaho. I still enjoy teaching. For the last few years I have been teaching Teen Welding at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. For 14 years I worked for Hometime, a national public television show. My duties were both in front and behind of the camera as their lead builder and coordinating the projects with the actors and directors to produce a home building show. Hometime videotaped 3 PBS shows as we developed the sculpture studio. I spend the summers in Grand Marias where I have a sculpture studio and teach a class at the Art Colony.