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Jan Anders Nelson


Jan Anders Nelson is a classically trained artist working in a variety of mediums and subjects, based in the Northwestern United States. Earning a Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin in 1977, Jan also spent time living in New York City attending New York University. Describing his artwork as contemporary realism, this multidisciplinary artist captures the narratives and realities of the people and places in his life. Using his camera as a sketchbook, Nelson often relies on multiple photographs to help answer queries that arise in the studio. While his paintings and drawings are created using more traditional methods, his digital photography is oftentimes manipulated in Photoshop and reworked by hand.

Website | Instagram | Artsy

Jan Anders Nelson

Jan Anders Nelson




How much time is dedicated to the execution of the work before you actually start the process?

The process starts with my camera—whether the big Nikon D800 or my smartphone camera—and encounters with moments in my life that I need to address in my work. I take a lot of photographs of an image, like a sketchbook used to serve, with one primary compositional shot that becomes the master I work from, with the other images serving to answer questions back in the studio. Those photographs may stay in my files for anywhere from a few days to years. Depending on whether I am painting, drawing, or printing, I spend an hour or so in Photoshop reviewing the array of images to get myself focused on the subject and elements that compose it, considering palette and surface (e.g. prepared paper versus canvas). Once I have a focus, the process moves rather quickly into the preparation of the surface, transferring image layout and then, after a few days of that work, finally beginning to paint or draw.


Bernheisel’s Junkyard | oil on panel | 24”×24” | 2018

Pressure #1 | oil on canvas | 40”×60” | 2017



Are you represented by a gallery?

Yes, Nicole Longnecker Gallery, Houston, Texas.



How true are you to your artist statement?

Very. I find that I adjust the statement over time as I evolve so that it reflects where I am currently.  



How much time does it take you to create an artwork?

A lot. My work is very deliberate and multi-layered, taking me many hours to reach a conclusion.



Do you ever venture out of your creative process to try out new things?

Yes, all the time. Experimentation is how I learn. Being uncomfortable with those experiments teaches me things about myself as well as pushing me to advance my art.  


Miner Death Mask | serigraph | 18”×24” | 2018

Small Nevelson’s Fantasy | photograph | 20”×30” | 2018



What is your education? Exhibition history? What awards have you won, and what collections are your works in? 

I have one page on my site called "CV" that answers this question.

Jan Anders Nelson CV



What's on your easel?

Working on a small, 20cm×20cm oil on paper panel piece for an upcoming exhibition in Spain in 2019. Referring to my first comment about how long it takes in my process, I shot this slide in 1974, am painting it in 2018.


work in progress | oil on paper panel | 20cm×20cm