Aug 25 2008
Medium: Painting, graphics & printing
Kim Nelson is an Australian symbolist artist. He lives and works in the foothills of the Brindabella mountain range, near the Australian National Capital, Canberra.
Born on on the New South Wales south coast into a farming family, he is related on his mother’s side to the late Australian traditional landscape painter Leonard Long OAM. From a very early age Nelson showed a precocious talent for drawing and creating and this talent was put to use not only in school projects but in designing backdrops for school productions.
At age 17, he spent a year at the renowned Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney, studying ‘drawing from life’. This was to be his only formal art training. It was also in this year that Nelson completed his first commissioned mural.
He subsequently embarked, somewhat by chance, on a career in graphic design and advertising concurrent with a career as a singer/songwriter in contemporary music.
This was followed by another ten years as a manager/curator of historic houses primarily for the National Trust (Australia) property, Cooma Cottage. Through a range of eventing, educational programs and exhibitions he developed the property from a fledgling local attraction into one of the Trust’s most successful regional properties.
In 1994 Dr Peter Stanbury (then head of Museums and Collections of National Trust, NSW) stated in a report to the board of the National Trust that “Kim is our model manager and news of his proficiency has spread throughout the Trust and into the public realm“. This reputation garnered Nelson various awards in heritage and tourism.
In 1995 Nelson was acting senior curator of Calthorpes’ House and Lanyon, both heritage properties in Australian Capital Territory (ACT). He also represented the ACT Museums & Galleries in tourism and marketing until his departure to pursue his art full time.
In 1996 Nelson retired from curatorial work to embark on a full time career in fine art. He has staged many solo exhibitions and completed commissioned art for a diverse range of organizations and individuals from National Trust of Australia, Pan MacMillan Publishing, ACT Supreme Court through to international media magnate Rupert Murdoch. His exhibitions have been opened by the likes of Chief Magistrate, The Hon. Mr Barry O’Keefe QCAM, the late Renee Rivkin and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and his work graces the walls of corporations and offices such as the Australia High Commission in London and News Limited in New York.
Kim Nelson is committed to using his talent in assisting others, having gifted art and design to many major and minor organisations and charities such as UNICEF Australia, Hope for the Children (Rotary International), AMACC (Afghan Mother & Child Care), Koomarri Canberra, The Smith Family, NSW Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, CanAssist along with numerous local and amateur groups.
He also, from time to time, still curates exhibitions on behalf of others and is the creator of the regional arts initiative YASSarts.
In 2013 Nelson was named Yass Valley Shire ‘Citizen of the Year’ in the Australia Day honours for his work in the community and specifically for his services to the arts.
Though his work can be quite diverse he identifies most strongly with symbolism and the spiritual, drawing much inspiration from the great works of the past. “I seek not to emulate the styles and techniques of the past, but to reinterpret and develop them in the present and for the future.“