James Nelson

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.

LOVE to SIN…Right?


This piece created by LoSIN Teecal Chicago Artist James Nelson is called “LOVE to SIN”. 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 Acrylic on Canvas..

“We Hate the Devil, but we Love to Sin” are the words inscribed in the background. In order to see these words it must to “Illuminated” with a light source of course. In my journey of spirituality or seeking GOD, I’ve experience such a massive degree of separation with religion(s). It bothered me that when we (humanity) seek a divine relationship with an Omnipresence or Universal entity there’s a catch. In Christianity you must accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Believing this you are “saved or delivered”. Then you must be baptized. Why is this necessary to do in order to have a connection with GOD. WHY?

Also, (quick thought) if you SIN you’re going to HELL. That’s scary isn’t it? Raised in the church seeing images of fiery flames on my skin, and demons tearing me limb from limb everyday. PLEASE SAVE ME NOW!!!! This doctrine that promotes FEAR and CONTROL also disturbs me but that’s another topic.

I have came to understand that the “Universal GOD” dwells within me and in every one of us. We have a choice to believe this and know that we have the same abilities of creation as the creator. The power of manifestation through creation.is in us all.

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?

I Dream of Jilly from Philly

Portrait of JIll Scott


I must tell you that this was a dream come true. Meeting JIll Scott…a chance to finally meet Jill Scott. The feeling was unimaginable. I’ve always wanted to meet “the woman of my dreams”. It may sound funny to you, but her smile reflects her complete persona. It’s radiant, beautiful, gorgeous, and full of light. I was driving one morning to work and overheard on POWER 92.3 that they were giving opportunities to meet Jill Scott for lunch. This was a chance of a lifetime….I called every hour and every minute wanting to win this opportunity. I was so persistant, I was even told by a co-worker that she felt sorry for me, just give up. She didn’t comprehend that this fire…this desire will not be burned out by a slight blow in the hear. It was a flame…more like a torch that couldn’t be put out.  I continued to call and the phone rang, rang, and rang. Finally,  someone said “Hello”…and I was like ” Hi, I’m calling to inquire about having dinner with Ms. Jill Scott.” The operator stated “You mean the lunch”. “Yeah that’s what i meant” I said. So I was already jumping for joy, and as soon as I got home from work I wanted to do a piece for Ms. Scott to show my love and appreciation. I spent about 8 hours on this piece, and it needed to be done. I wasn’t going to allow time to stop from creating a piece that was so important. JIll Scott I hope you love your portrait, It was an honor and my pleasure. Congrats and I’ll be awaiting your new album “The Light of The Sun” in stores June 21th.