James Nelson discovered art at a very young age. His first portrait was a drawing of his mother. He drew every detail, from the creases of her smile to the roundness of her face. Afraid and uncertain that his mother would unhappily accept the drawing because of the delicate details in the portrait drawing. She accepted the black and white drawing saying “Draw everything you see son”.

“Everything on the earth, in heaven, and in the universe is an inspiration to create and to be manifested”

James Nelson received many awards since the age of 12 for his expertise in illustration, commercial, and visual art. James attended Westinghouse Vocational High School and majored in Commercial Art. He then went on to attend Illinois State University after receiving the All City State Awards Portfolio Winner in 1997, and studied Graphic Design.  His work has been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery Guichard, NYCH Gallery, Galleyna19 and many other prominent and upcoming art galleries in the Chicago Area.


“This natural ability to create comes from a higher existence, a higher power. If we are created in his image, we are also able to create works of art.”

I started a brand called Soulful Artistry. A creative company dedicated to providing creative services to consumers after years of freelancing in Graphic Design and commissions. I also wanted to use my brand as a platform to engage other artists in finding success by utilizing resources and seeking opportunities.  I find inspiration through other artist(s), my community, culture, society, and spirituality. My style and body of work is influenced by the Renaissance and Expression movement, Realism, and Street/ Urban Art. I’m captivated and intrigued by portraiture. The human face captures transparency in emotion, individuality and beauty. I use radiant and vibrant color schemes and additional elements in my work to give my creations life. My latest works focuses on the awareness of true value in humanity, spirituality, and the enrichment of African American culture

“Let us Create Art from the Soul”

Notable Exhibitions

  • AFRO-LUTION – Nych Art Gallery, Chicago, IL – May 2017
  • Dump Trump – Group Show, Elephant Room Gallery, Chicago IL – November 2016
  • Onyx Rose – ACS Gallery, Chicago, IL  July 2016
  • Hotter Than July – NYCH Art Gallery, Chicago, IL July 2016
  • BLVCKXGOLD –  NYCH Art Gallery, Chicago, IL – July 2015
  • Harlem Fine Arts Show – Merchandise Mart, Chicago IL – Nov 2015
  • Migrations of Black and White – Calao 22 Gallery Space, Chicago, IL – Oct 2015
  • Milk, Honey, Bread & Butter –  UFAT Gallery, Chicago IL – Aug 2015
  • Bare Strokes IV – Live body painting event, LoCollective, Chicago IL – June 2015
  • 100 Canvases – Group Show and Art Auction, The Silver Room, Chicago IL – July 2014
  • Home is Where the Art Is – AllUsWe Art Collective, Galleryna19, Oak Park IL – June 2014
  • Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series – Semi Finalist, Gallery Guichard, Chicago IL – Nov 2013/ 2014
  • Diaspora: The Art of Blackness – Group Art Show, NYCH Art Gallery, Chicago IL – Aug 2013
  • Twitter Art Exhibit – International Group Show, Art Division, Los Angeles, CA – Jul 2013
  • Bread & Circus – AllUsWe Art Collective Group Show, Definitive Selection, Chicago Il  – July 2013
  • Illuminated – NYCH Art Gallery, Chicago, IL – January 2013


RollingOut.com, Article by Tina Red.

James Nelson presents Afro-Lution exhibit at Nych Gallery in Chicago

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