Hello All,

This morning I’m in my o1597494_622268121203560_674203880_nffice sitting behind a desk staring at a Dell monitor, typing and wondering…Why? Why am I sitting here? Again! While I am sitting here I perform a list of task such as accumulating staff time, conducting payroll, monitoring budgets,  filing, implementing and running an employment program for a wonderful agency. This agency has an amazing staff…and they work hard. They deserve more…working in the non for profit sector you work for the greater good of your community. You make a difference in individuals lives.

However, I’m viewing my greater purpose and potential. I know that I should be picking up a paint brush, stroking a canvas with bright, vibrant colors that will bring life and influence the next individual to want to create. I will create a valuable piece of artwork that will connect to not just hundreds of people, but thousands and maybe even millions. My art(creations) will be my way of connecting to source, the world, and the people that in it.

Therefore you have Power to Overcomethe power to overcome your situation that holding you captive. Do not blame your circumstances, instead implement a strategic plan, fight, and battle through these obstacles that keep you from true happiness.  Muhammad Ali battled through hate, segregation, prejudices, and discrimination. He became the World Heavyweight Champion. Just imagine what you can become overlooking your obstacles and crowning your achievements and goals. Speak the power of affirmations…YOU ARE A CHAMPION! YOU ARE VICTORIOUS!


My point is work hard for the greatest investment of your career…YOUR HAPPINESS.

The Art of Big Shoulders

Art of Big Shoulders Exhibit was showcased at the NYCH Gallery was a success. Visually striking artwork was dedicated to “the Windy City”.  This outstanding exhibit featured artists Phillip Scott, Chantala Kommanivanh, Faith Ann Gilbert, Andrew Ryan Robb, Raub Welch, David Anthony Geary, James Nelson, Brian Golden, and Mark Phillips. For those that were not able to view the showcase,  please check out the gallery. 

I submitted this piece in the show entitled “Survival of the Wicked”. Wicked title eh? Yeah I know, I did some research on the theme of the show. Chicago has several names ” The Windy City, “The  CHI”, “Chi- CIty”, “Chi- Town”,  the list goes on. However, it was a name that I’ve heard in instances, but It never  occurred to me what it was referring to… “The City of Big Shoulders”. How could you not know what that means you’re a Chicago native? you say…. Hey! Chicago is a big city, and in big cities there’s a lot of history. So anyway, I did research, and maybe I became a bit overwhelmed with the idea at first. I could have just painted the Chicago Skyline, and called it a day, but NO. I’m the artist forever, James Nelson of Soulful Artistry. Whew! So in doing my research I came across the poem entitled “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg. 

By Carl Sandburg
Hog Butcher for the World,
   Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
   Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
   Stormy, husky, brawling,
   City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
   Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
         This poem gave me an array of images in my head…so much inspiration. But this inspiration was to create a piece about the “Wicked”, the “Crooked”, and “the Gunmen that killed and got away”. Chicago is not just referring to the working class, but a systematic theory of survival of the fittest for the corrupt. Rather than earn an income the hard and long way, lets do it fast and easy.  I  came across the Notorious Mobster AL Capone, The Black Gangsta Disciples,  Mayor Rahm Emanuel, The Nike Air Jordans, our troubled youth, and the high percentage of violence.  This theme became a discussion of my views and opinions on canvas. I’d like to add more to this piece, so I’m wondering what are your views of ” The City of Big Shoulders”, and what would you like to see added to this painting.
To get a closer look at the painting, “Survival of the Wicked” go to NYCH Gallery at 643 W. 18th st, Chicago, IL.

Increase Awareness About Breast Cancer to “EMERGE”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.  As an artist and a full time case worker for a respite center called Interfaith House. I have assisted and counseled clients with this illness. If you’re wondering what Interfaith House is, here’s a little information. Interfaith House provides residential care for homeless men and women in medical recovery. This 64-bed center on Chicago’s West Side, offers interim housing and support to ill and injured homeless adults. Breast Cancer is one of the  illnesses that a percentage of our female population suffer from.

In dedication to our survivors that have emerged from this deadly disease I have painted a piece titled “Emerge” that will be on display at NYCH Art Gallery on Friday October 11th for the Art of the Big Shoulders exhibit.dies_in_winter1

43rd Annual Pilsen East Artists’ Open House

Art of the Big Shoulders at NYCH Gallery
Opening Friday, October 11th & Saturday 12th 2013 from 6-10pm
Closing Sunday, November 3, 2013 from 5-8pm


To get more information about Breast Cancer go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.  for more information to increase awareness and prevention.

Also, Interfaith House is celebrating their 20th Year of Rebuilding Lives! Join them for their Open House, featuring a Celebration of Volunteers, on Saturday, October 12, 2pm – 4 pm!

The Electric Lady “JANELLE MONAE”

Janelle Monae was as the Dwayne “The Rock ” Johnson would put it “Electrifying” at her Listening Party. It was more like a private concert, but even more like a house party. The connection and energy was so high. Dancing with Janelle was quite similar to like dancing with your buddies at a birthday celebration. She suggested that everyone wears socks or no shoes to dance with her on the turf. This suggestion led to a more intimate and wonderful connection with her vibrant energy.  Her new album “The Electric Lady” hits the stores September 10th with featured artist Prince, Erykah Badu, Miguel, Solange, Esperanza Spalding, Big Boi and Cee-Lo Green.

Also, to view the process of how I created the artwork for Janelle Monae click on the instagram icon to view my page.


Check out her recent and offical video featuring Erykah Badu entitled “Q.U.E.E.N.”













Gallery Guichard Presents ART DI GRAS

ART DI GRAS is this Saturday – August 10 from 2pm-midnight at Gallery Guichard hosted by Andre Guichard.

ART lovers this is an event that you don’t want to miss. LIVE ART by Joe Nelson and James Nelson, food, fun and entertainment. FEATURING Gallery Guichard fine artists including Shenna Vaughn, Nancy Pirri, Roger CarterDarren PollardAdam GuichardMartha A. Wade and more. 10 hours of art! Hope to see you there.

untitled  This piece will also be featured at the event for your viewing pleasure along with other fantastic works of art. So don’t be hesitant, lock this event in your daily planner because you don’t want to miss an event like this. 








“Untitled” 55×55 Mixed Media on Canvas.

Also here’s a video of Gallery Guichard presenting an Artisan Series: CULTURE.

Check out My New Creations

Every Week I’ll be posting new artwork.

I’ve been working on this particular piece and cannot seem to give it a name. I’ve been thinking about it, and my imagination seems to run wild every time I gaze at it. It has some comparison with another piece I created called”Rebelle Naturalle”. It’s almost as if it can tell a story between two sisters or a mother and daughter that shares the same religion, and similar occupation. The only difference would be the choice of lifestyle (hairstyle, fashion, values, and living). Then there’s an epic battle of natural hair versus chemically treated hair. Like the scene in School Days by Spike Lee (love that movie). I find it amazing how even one slight difference in APPEARANCE can cause a debate or even a distinction in a single culture. Anyway, give or lend me your thoughts in finding a name for this piece.  To view some of my work go to and click on paintings.

Are you part of the “CLIQUE”?

Illuminate   Local Chicago Artist James Nelson is capturing the controversial Hip Hop artist Kanye West in this piece called “Illuminate”. This piece will be featured in his first Solo Exhibit on January 11th at the NYCH Art Gallery x Robotic Minds Collaborative located in the Art District Area at 643 S. 18th street.This work is composed of mixed media on a wood panel which gives this painting an illustrative street art look. This piece was inspired by Kanye Wests’ verse in his song “Clique”. Kanye states in his lyrics…

He asked me about my Maybach, think he had the same
Except mine tinted and his might have been rented

You know white people get money, don’t spend it
Or maybe they get money, buy a business
I rather buy 80 gold chains and go ign’ant
I know Spike Lee gone kill me but let me finish

Blame it on the pigment, we living no limits

This piece is called “Illuminate” to bring awareness and enlightenment to our social economic structures. Not to be offensive, but I’ve seen and witness where money tends to go to, and it’s not based upon needs. This concept and mentality has been poured into the African American culture for generations. The”hood rich”scene has been gazed and fascinated upon through the youth in our communities. We love and admire luxurious items in our possessions, but who doesn’t. We envy and follow celebrities from their everyday lives in social media and television shows. We’d rather seek material gain than gain spiritual awareness or enlightenment.  We’ll purchase a car with 22″inch rims for flamboyancy, instead of investing in ourselves, or in our future.

I can go on and on about this behavior that causes distractions in our everyday lives. Let’s re-evaluate or reassess our needs. Instead of using the money we receive to purchase unnecessary materials. INVEST in a potential business that can help you achieve a happier lifestyle. Or better yet, INVEST in your potential (your gift)….Your GOD given abilities. Invest in acquiring more knowledge about how to use your gifts to obtain true happiness. Happiness isn’t gained by having 80 Gold Chains, or a Maybach. In the words of late Bernie Mac “Who you Wit?'”. Who and what clique are you with? Maybe the real question is How will you invest in yourself?