A LIFE OF DISCIPLINE | Karen Anderer.
“Drawing is the First Art, everything else springs from that.” ~ Robert A. Nelson
Robert A. Nelson left the New York City Pop Culture Scene in the 60’s to work with students at the University of North Dakota and then Cleveland State University. He also was a Professor at his Alma Mater, The Art Institute of Chicago, where he earned his B.A.E.; The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Millersville University, PA, where he was confirmed Professor Emeritus. He received his Doctorate from NYU. Dr. Nelson has influenced thousands of students who have snatched up and cherished the sketches he’s made on scraps of paper in classrooms across the country while sharing his passion for life, art, and art-making. Many of Bob’s students are successful working artists around the globe— and I suspect most of them can tell you a “Bob Story” or two. The common theme heard by a Nelson student was discipline. Dr. Nelson instilled discipline and to this day he lives by his disciple and draws every day.
“I hope people find it interesting. I like to amaze them a little bit- the black humor disturbs them in many cases. You have to look at it and you have to think about it.” ~ Robert A. Nelson
Nelson’s art is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum, Boston’s DeCordova Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. He was the recipient of the prestigious Purchase Prize in the 31st National Exhibition of Boston Printmakers and awarded the Cezanne medal from the government of France.
At nearly 92, Dr. Robert A. Nelson is living a voluminous, all-embracing life. His experiences as a cartographer, book illustrator, meatpacking plant tour guide, teacher, a member of the 7th Cavalry, FlyBoy, Air Force Veteran, and herdsman feed the fanatical journeys that he takes each viewer on with every drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, or print that he makes. His determination to excite and intrigue hasn’t slowed down and continues to inspire those around him. The stories by people who he has taught or influenced are equally as inspiring, and resound the notion of a person truly living a life of art. Since retiring as a professor, Bob lives remotely in the mountains of Oregon with his wife Louise, 3 dogs, 4 horses and a dozen parakeets. A renaissance man with a black humor caught in the wrong century, Bob’s story is one that we feel is worth the trip.
“If I had to name one artist that most influenced him it would be da Vinci… but of course, da Vinci didn’t have the Nelson sense of humor… It’s funny as hell.” ~Chick Kozloff, author, art collector