James Nelson of Soulful Artistry




Last Thursday at the Shrine (@theshrinechi) I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the lovely Elle Varner (@ellevarner). I must say that this woman can sing, a performer and is truly some eye candy. Her voice is raspy, silvery,  smoky, but  also hitting those high pitches that we love.  I caught her doing a few sexy salsa moves on the stage. She opened with “Cold Case” from her sophomore album and performed her hit single “Refill”, “F#@$ It All”, “Don’t Really Want to Dance”, and also “I Only Want to Give it  to You”. I loved how she mentioned that she “love folks that are weird, Chicago is weird, and that she’s weird”. I must say that many individuals have told me on many occasions that I’m weird, strange, quarky, and awkward. The moment that she was having issues with the sound, and talking to her guitar was priceless. I cherished that moment because it was relatively familiar in acts that I do.

Meeting Elle for the first time was nerve reckoning, I felt like I had a frog in my throat which seems to make me talk even lower. I’m pretty sure she probably heard maybe two or three words come from my mouth.  Anyways, I painted a portrait of her, that I knew she would love However, if you look at the image closely. I had a few minor adjustments that needed to be done. While doing this painting everyone looked at it and said “Oh it looks great. It looks just like her”. I knew there were a few issues with this painting. Also this picture was captured and use as reference from her video “Don’t Really Want To Dance” featuring A$AP Ferg. Check it out…


Also, here’s a small video of her performance on Friday night…

So,  I was able to get a picture with her, and the painting… she was all smiles. Her new album 4 Letter Word is expected to be released this fall.

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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.


Hello everyone, it’s been sometime since I posted in my blog and I apologize. There’s so many things that has happened in 2013. First, I started this blog, second I began my career as an artist, and I had my first born son. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I was featured in The Chicago Citizens Newspaper.

1468688_10152085665192460_1141409100_nThe year 2013 was fantastic. It showed me that there so much more that I can accomplish this year….and I will. Plans will be implemented and manifested.  There will be several and many updates in the new year. By the way HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2014 is here with more possibilities headed our way.

Let’s FOCUS and discuss Social Media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Youtube (the list goes on) are social media websites. Social Media defined by Wikipedia is an interactive platform that gives people the ability to create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. That sounds about right. Social Media definitely has it’s pros and cons. Do you find yourself logging into your Facebook page after you’ve logged into your computer at work?  Are you tweeting while driving, or even looking through images on Instagram. I know I do. 

Let’s check out one of the PROS of Social Media and how it can benefit you:

If you’re establishing a brand, business, or website you can engage with viewers, generate an audience and develop traffic. In doing this you have promoted and exposed your brand, business, or website to the thousands to earn and generate revenue.  Which is GREAT!

What’s one of the CONS:

According to ProCon. Org one of the Cons to Social networking sites is enticing people to waste time. ProCon.org states that 40% of 8 to 18 year olds spend 54 minutes a day on social media sites.  When alerted to a new social networking site activity, like a new tweet or Facebook message, users take 20 to 25 minutes on average to return to the original task. In 30% of cases, it took two hours to fully return attention to the original task. Some of us spend more time “wasting time” being entertained by social media. Believe me I know.

So is it a major distraction or is it beneficial? Sure we may use it because it’s a source of entertainment, or we may utilize it to develop business relations. Fact is it can be good or bad depending upon how we utilize our precious time with Social Media.

The image displayed is a piece that I’ve created titled ” Social Suicide” . This was piece derived from a phrase and theme of the show titled  “Bread and Circus” which comes from the Roman term “Give them Bread and Circus” that a collective  group of artist called ALLUSWE developed as an artist showcase. Which turned out great. The belief in this phrase is that a well-fed and entertained society is incapable of an effective revolt; thus enabling the government to exploit the populous without a potential uprising. Is Social Media playing a major part in this global distraction?

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.

The Wade Foundation Artwork

Juan Teague-Kirkman, Director of BT & Entertainment at the Hard Rock Hotel commissioned a piece for the Wade Foundation. After meeting Juan at the Listening Party for Janelle Monae she stated that she had a job for me. We exchanged contact information and we were able to discuss the matter of the “job “. I kindly followed up with a message and text regarding the artwork she wanted done.  She asked “Can you do a painting of Dwyane Wade (@DwyaneWade), his mom and sister (Tragil Wade @tragilwade)?”.  She thought that it will be such a great gift to the Wade foundation for the outstanding services they provide to our youth.  Within a time frame or deadline of a 1 day this piece was completed in 9 hours. You’re familiar with the phrase

“You can do anything if you out your Mind to it” 

This quote is SO true. Anything is life is attainable…


The Wades promotes this same phrase. According to the mission of the Wade World Foundation. The organization (WWF) provide support to various educational, health and family service programs, particularly those that benefit under served communities.

Founded in 2003, Wade’s World Foundation stands on the shoulders of its’ central purpose of promoting the education of children/youth and its’ three focus initiatives of literacy, health and fatherhood. Understanding that his life is bigger than basketball, Dwyane is a firm believer and supporter of the foundation’s motto “Every Child Deserves a Shot.” By primarily servicing the at-risk communities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and the South Florida region, Wade’s World Foundation is dedicated to providing opportunities that enable children to overcome challenges, excel academically, and reach their maximum potential.

For more information on the Wade’s World Foundation please go to their website at http://wadesworldfoundation.org/index.php.

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.”













Natural Born Artist are RAW!!!!!

RAW Showcase is amazing, and its an exciting and overwhelming display of creativity in one room. FASHION | MUSIC | VISUAL ART | PHOTOGRAPHY | PERFORMING ART | MAKEUP | HAIR | ACCESSORIES | FILM.  I have the pleasure and opportunity to be one of the Next Featured Artist in the RAW Showcase on September.5th at the Double Door. Here are some of the other artist that’s displaying their impeccable skills sets.

Red & Reckless
Isaiah Grass
chicago-translations-1Morris Mills
The Fireside Silhouettes
Urban Twang

Lilith Moon
Judah & The Spoox

Cranky Pickle
April Montiel
Varon Osorio

Peri Monday
Tracy Rolkosky
Bass Structures
Voodoo Paint
Arturo Fresan
Lee Huttner
Emily Hufford
James Nelson
Kate Goodwillie
Natalia Virafuentes
Jesus Monsivais
Kate Tillman
Tim L
Dana Todd Pope

Aubrey Rose
Gracie Hagen
Britt Fowler
Tony Jacobs
Derrick Alexander

Directed by: Kara J. Coraci
RAW Team: John Cousert, Anthony Rizzo, Victoria Messina, Maddy Willms, Nicole Verheye


RAW:natural born artists (www.rawartists.org) is an indie arts organization for artists, by artists. RAW operates identically in over 60 cities internationally and in Australia!

Each month we hand-select and feature approximately 30 local, up-and-coming creatives in one big showcase including a giant pop-up art gallery, music performances, fashion shows, performing arts, a host, DJ, cash bar, and more. Come check out some of the hottest indie talent Chicago has to offer!

Want to apply to be a RAW Chicago artist? Go to www.rawartists.org/register and submit a profile for review by our local director!


Double Door

1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60622

View Map · Get Directions

To buy tickets: $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door


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.

Lindsey E. Bates

Stay tuned for latest interview on our featured artist Lindsey L. Bates. As an teaser here’s some of his outstanding work. His work consist of various mediums and categories in the arts such as Graphic Art, Illustration, Computer Animation, and Fine Art. More work can be viewed on his website. www.whothethreat.co.

Contact Information:



Artist are you being Harassed…

The piece I have above is called ” More Than A Woman”. It’s a piece that conveys a message about how women are being harassed by strangers in the streets. Which occurs on a daily basis. I’ve seen young men call young girls everything besides their name. This creates a process of lowering someone self esteem, productivity, and behavior. Which leads me to my article about harassment.

So I’ve been picked on (harassed) every since childhood due to my vivid imagination. I was always talked about because I actually thought I had super human strength, or made strange noises, and even (I love this one) fought the wind (I’d prefer practicing karate). Anyways, I was that guy. I never thought that having an imagination was a big concern. However, growing up on the west side of Chicago was a huge difference than being up north. Then again, being a black male up north wasn’t all that exciting either. But let’s stay focused on being an artistically comical fun driven young teen raised in the “hood”.

It was different…well I was different to my peers. I talked, dressed, and my behavior was different. I perceived and noticed the difference so I decided to blend in…. or at least try.  While everyone was wearing Karl Kani Jeans, Pelle Pelle, and “Jordans”. I was wearing a Payless shoe brand called “HEADS”. I even went so far as to draw the Karl Kani logo on a pair of khakis. It was only until I began to draw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Graffiti Bubble letters that pulled me into the in crowd.  I was accepted more willingly every time I drew something that my peers could relate to.  It was good feeling of relief… a sense of comfort (fitting in).

In these times who wants to fit in? This is the age of trendsetting, doing your own thing…more like trendscending. This is not an error in spelling either. Trendscending is to go beyond and surpass the current trends.  @Fulltime_Khanyi said it best on his blog at http://justrendscend.wordpress.com/

Go Above, Go Beyond, Onto The Next Level, Make It To The Highest

  • Trend Setter: A leader of the pack who has a sense of Fashion, Style, Music.  Someone who everyone else follows.
  • Transcend: To be greater than standard, unity, truth, and goodness.

Trendsetter + Transcend = TrendScend

Follow him and his blog: @Fulltime_Khanyi

Many individuals have a fear to do something different or irregular. So they criticize and judge. It’s displeasing to hear some of the critiques I hear on a daily basis. Especially within the workplace. So I did some research and there are laws that protect those from being harassed…it’s called Workplace Harassment. This is a federal law and if  violated by a co-worker or manager could led to termination. Unlawful harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal authority.

This information called be viewed on http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/understanding-workplace-harassment-fcc-staff. So my artist friends if you’re being harassed because of your attire, hairstyle, speech, etc. Please inform that person that if they persist. You’re going to tell your manager on them. HA!