Hinesville artist Charles Nelson likes all aspects of art, including comic-book illustrations, and his diversity is evident in the work on display through Feb. 27 at the Hinesville Area Arts Council gallery on Commerce Street.
The 29-year-old artist’s public debut highlights his stylistic range and assorted mediums, which became available for public viewing during Thursday’s reception at the council’s downtown Hinesville gallery. Nelson’s exhibit is titled “The Frantic Pen.”
Nelson’s first public showing includes a number of comic-book type ink drawings, intense pencil sketches of faces and facial features, somber posters and bright visions of the cosmos fashioned with spray paints. He also shares a pencil-sketched portrait of two whimsical robots in love, a gift to his wife on their wedding day.
“I’ve always loved art,” Nelson said. “I constantly try to learn and absorb as much as I can.”
Nelson’s mother, Chrislene Nelson-Taylor, said her son constantly had pencils or pens in hand growing up, even creating imaginative scenes when she would draw “squiggly lines” for him to complete.
Nelson’s sister, Christy McGuire, said her brother “has always been naturally into art.”
The full-time working artist said he applied to the Savannah College of Art and Design and was accepted, but could not afford to attend. However, he developed professional friendships with a number of SCAD professors, who continue to inspire and encourage him.
“And the rest is just practice and perspiration,” Nelson said.
He said he does a lot of conceptual art and character design, but also is open to commission work.
“I’ve done portraits,” he said. “My commissions are pretty much open to anything.”
The young artist said he decided to “get more serious” about his art about six or seven years ago.
Nelson’s comic artwork soon will be digitally unveiled, at STR88FACE.com, an online T-shirt store that has an office and warehouse in Savannah. Many of the T-shirts have stark political themes based on today’s news headlines.
Nelson moved to Hinesville from Ohio in 2001, when he was still in high school. He attended Glennville Christian Academy.
Nelson is a co-op artist with the HAAC, and just started teaching comic-book style drawing for youth and adults, ages 11 and older. He charges $10 per student per class. Classes currently are held the first and third Saturday of the month in February and March.
He said he read comic books growing up and was impressed with the versatile prowess of comic-book illustrators. These artists can go from detailed cityscapes to depictions of tropical islands, according to Nelson. He said he also admires Japanese Manga, often translated into cartoons known as anime. Nelson had the opportunity to meet some of the comic-book artists he admires at Florida Supercon (comic book and anime convention) in Miami two years ago.
Several HAAC co-op artists and members supported Nelson by attending his exhibit.
Kasey Bozeman, 4-H agent for Liberty County, helped host Nelson’s reception. Nancy Melchor greeted guests in the gallery. Melchor is an oil painter who teaches painting using the Bob Ross technique.
Benjamin Turner attended Nelson’s reception and spent time speaking with his fellow artist. Turner said his art was exhibited by the council three years ago. His work can be found in a number of galleries on Tybee Island, and at Vicki’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant on Tybee, he said. Many of his oil paintings feature coastal scenes.
The HAAC gallery is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on HAAC, go to hinesvillearts.com.