JAMES NELSON : SCULPTOR
James Nelson is a Sculptor who specializes in contemporary, large scale, figurative work in bronze and terracotta. His current work includes a project which will result in a series of 50 life-size portrait busts in terracotta. James’ public art projects include sculpture and design work for parks, gardens, fountains, buildings and plazas that focus on the collaborative design process.
Working closely with clients, landscape architects, architects and planners he creates spaces and sculpture that provide a distinctive design, message, and sense of place. He collaborated for over 20 years with Sculptor T.J. Dixon, until her passing in 2018. James continues to create work that adds to the aesthetic and cultural identities of many diverse communities and institutions across the nation. He currently works and lives in Encinitas, California.
2019 Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts from California State University San Marcos.
2010 Community Beautification Award from the Point Loma Association for Artwork at the Silver Gate Yacht Club.
2010 Community Beautification Award from the Point Loma Association for Artwork at the San Diego Yacht Club.
2002 Orchid award for Fine Art from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for Sculpture at the San Diego Animal Shelter. Commissioned by the City of San Diego for Department of Animal Control, San Diego, CA.
2001 Orchid Award for Fine Art from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for “Fire Fighters” sculpture. Commissioned by the City of San Diego for Fire Station 44, San Diego, CA.
2000 Orchid Awards for Fine Art and Landscape Architecture from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for Carley’s Magical Gardens, Children’s Hospital, San Diego, CA.
1997 Honor Award from South Carolina Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects for Military Heritage Plaza, Clemson University.
2017 Retrospective of projects at Clemson University. Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, Clemson University, Clemson, SC - Solo Exhibition
2012 “Public Artists/Private Work" - William D. Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad, CA – Group Exhibition
1997 “Art in Landscape” - Trios Gallery, Solana Beach, CA – Group Exhibition
1992 "Terracotta" - Gargoyle Gallery, San Diego, CA - Solo Exhibition
“University to Honor Sculptors of Iconic Chávez Statue with Honorary Degree”
-Pam Kragen, San Diego Union Tribune (May 14, 2019)
“Sculpture for Carlsbad Golf Course Near Approval"
-Michael Burge, San Diego Union Tribune (November 12, 2005)
1988-1990 Fine Art Studies at San Diego City and Mesa Community Colleges; Degree: A.A. in Liberal Arts, Emphasis in Fine Art
1990 San Francisco State University, Advanced Studies in Sculpture under Francisco Perez (San Francisco, CA)
1990-1992 Archaeologist, with Affinis Environmental Services (El Cajon, CA)
1991 San Diego Mesa College, Advanced Study in Large Scale, Figurative Sculpture under T.J. Dixon (San Diego, CA)
1992 One-man show, Gargoyle Gallery (San Diego, CA)
1997 Group show "Art in Landscape", Trios Gallery (Solana Beach, CA)
2003-2004 Large scale monumental project with master sculptor Waldemar Otto (Worpswede, German)
1992-2018 Full time freelance sculptor specializing in Large Scale Figurative Public Works in collaboration with Sculptor T.J. Dixon
2019 Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts from California State University San Marcos (San Marcos, CA)
Present Full time freelance Sculptor
SELECTED PUBLIC COMMISSIONS
2017 Clemson, SC Commission to design and fabricate a 48’x 12’ abstract tiger for Clemson University Tiger Band.
Commissioned by Clemson University.
2017 San Diego, CA Commission for a 5’ tall rabbit, sixteen life-size rabbits and narrative for Civita Park. Designed in collaboration with Schmidt Design Group. Commissioned by Sudberry Properties.
2017 Clemson, SC Masterplan for Clemson University Alumni Park. A collaboration with Land Planning Associates and Clemson University Planning + Design. This commission included research, planning and programming for a new 30-acre park in the center of campus as part of a creek restoration project. Commissioned by Clemson University.
2016 Clemson, SC Master plan for an Athletic Trail commemorating the values, vision and history of athletics at Clemson University. Commissioned by Clemson University.
2014 Clemson, SC Collaborative design of Riggs Bridge with architects, The Boudreaux Group for Clemson University. Project included bridge design and three bas-relief portraits of former Clemson president/professor/coach, Walter Riggs. Commissioned by Clemson University.
2009-2012 Clemson, SC 100’ diameter earthwork and overall park design with two life-size tigers. The Memorial Park honors all Clemson alumni that have died in service to their country. Reflection Point at Memorial Park, Phase II of park design marking the importance and the many different forms of “Service” to one’s country, community and family. Commissioned by Clemson University.
2009-2011 San Diego, CA Commissioned by Rady Children’s Hospital to design and create over 12 new bronze sculptures for 3 new gardens.
2011 San Diego, CA One 7’ bronze figure of a sailor on top of a mast. Commissioned by Silver Gate Yacht Club as part of the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Program.
2010 San Diego, CA One life-size bronze of a child sailing on a life-size bronze sabot. Commissioned by San Diego Yacht Club as part of the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Program.
2010 Clemson, SC One 7’ tall bronze figure of the Clemson Tiger Mascot. Commissioned by Clemson University Athletic Department.
2008 Montecito, CA Two life-size, bronze figures of David and Helene Winter for Westmont College.
2007 Carlsbad, CA Three life-size bronze golfers for the Carlsbad Municipal Golf Course. Commissioned by City of Carlsbad.
2006 Greenville, SC One 7’ tall bronze sculpture of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, plaza design and a children’s story. Designed in collaboration with Seamon, Whiteside and Associates, Inc. Landscape Architects.
2005 Galveston, TX AIDS Memorial Garden and 7’ bronze figure. Garden designed in collaboration with Seamon, Whiteside and Associates, Inc. Commissioned by the Wall of Remembrance Charitable Trust.
2005 Solana Beach, CA “The Conversation,” three figures on chairs for a pocket park in Cedros Design District. Concept by Burton Landscape Architecture Studio. Commissioned by Sean Macleod.
2004 San Diego, CA 5’ bronze Pelican and children’s poem for the Pacific Beach Lifeguard Station Plaza. Commissioned by City of San Diego.
2003 La Jolla, CA Life-size bronze sculpture of Ellen Browning Scripps with a child, for the entrance to Scripps Memorial Hospital. Commissioned by Scripps Health.
2002 Philadelphia, PA Exhibition celebrating the legacy and history of MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine, including 23 framed prints with original drawings. Commissioned by Drexel University.
2001 San Diego, CA Commission for 17 cast stone cats and one bronze dog for the lobby of the Animal Control Department and a fountain design including two bronze dogs and two bronze cats. Commissioned by The City of San Diego for the Central Animal Shelter.
Orchid award for Public Art from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (2002)
2000 Philadelphia, PA Design of an environment to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, the first degree-granting medical school in the world for women. Commission included a three-quarter life-size bronze of a woman physician attending a child, drawings, prints and interior design work.
2000 San Diego, CA Two life-size bronze fire fighters in collaboration with architects Nicoloff & Associates on design of Fire Station No. 44. Commissioned by the City of San Diego.
Orchid award for Public Art from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (2001)
1999 San Diego, CA Co-designed three gardens, three life-size bronze figures, landscape design and a 500 square foot playhouse. Commissioned by Children’s Hospital and Health Center.
Orchid awards for Fine Art and Landscape Architecture from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (2000)
1998 Philadelphia PA Life-size, bronze figure of Dr. June Klinghoffer for Allegheny University Hospital
Commissioned by Allegheny University of the Health Sciences.
1996 San Marcos, CA Larger-than-life-size bronze figure of labor leader and human rights activist Cesar Chavez.
Commissioned by the Hispanic Advisory Council and the California State University San Marcos Foundation. Awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from California State University San Marcos in recognition of contribution this work has made to the campus and community.
1995 Myrtle Beach, SC Five life-size fountain figures in bronze for the Broadway at the Beach development.
Commissioned by Burroughs & Chapin Co.
1995 Clemson, SC Three life-size bronze figures and other three-dimensional design elements. Co-design of the Clemson University Military Heritage Plaza with the landscape architecture firm Seamon, Whiteside & Associates, Inc. and Gerald Vander Mey.
Commissioned by Clemson University. Honor Award from the South Carolina Chapter of the ASLA (1997)
1994 San Diego, CA Three life-size terracotta figures of an immigrant family. Commissioned by the Jacob Weinberger Foundation for the Jacob Weinberger Federal Courthouse.
1993 San Diego, CA Six 7’ terracotta figures for the Mission Trails Park Visitors Center. Commissioned by the City of San Diego.
1992 Clemson, SC Two 10% larger-than-life-size bronze figures for Clemson University. Commissioned by Clemson University.
1992 Escondido, CA Three 7’ terracotta figures "The Bakers". Commissioned by and for the Fornaca Family Bakery.