The information below was written by Bill Nelson, including all descriptions of the photographs. The photographs are copyright of Bill Nelson and have been resized and reworked for screen display and faster uploading and therefore may not be of the highest quality.
Bill is a member of N.I.A.D.A. and is one of the many wonderful artists exhibited at the Mann Gallery in Boston.
My work has been called "cartoony" by some (actually, only one), "too cute" by others (but not many others), "whimsical" by a few (too few), "sweet" by a handful (it was a large hand), "warm" by five people, and "mirrors to the soul" by no one I can recall.
But I enjoy making dolls. I am not crazy about the word "dolls" but what else do we call them? Dressed figurative sculptures? Some have (actually only one). I prefer the name "Artist's Doll," or "Art Doll."
I have been creating dressed figurative sculptures since 1986. My first pieces were 42 inches tall, the size of an average child. In 1989, I was fortunate enough to meet Bob McKinley and overnight my size changed to around 18 inches. Today my dolls range in size from 10 inches to 15 inches.
The subject matter of my first dolls was the homeless and the elderly.Now I concentrate my efforts on warm, friendly little fantasy elves, gnomes, trolls, and dwarfs
Although great attention is paid to all aspects of the doll, the head, and more specifically the face, holds the greatest interest to me. Faces that yearn, whimper, show hope and courage- faces that smile and question... these are my favorites. If I can't believe what the face I am sculpting is trying to say, then no one will ever see it.
I hope you will discover the life and light I have tried to instill in these faces. Perhaps even view them as mirrors to the soul. (There! Someone finally said it!)
Life On A BenchThe two dolls, each measuring approximately 9" when standing, are fully articulated and poseable.
My purpose here was to show two fellows down on their luck, and while one is having a tough time dealing with it, the other is more accepting and is actually trying to cheer the other up.
It makes a nice statement, don't you think?
ModoOne of my more serious pieces, Modo is approximately 15" tall and is wearing a distressed leather cap. His costume is made of dyed cheesecloth.
I'm especially proud of that little darting tongue, and whether you like it or not, the tips of his ears are bue... because it's cold where he lives; yeah, that's it.
The Brotherhood of the ElfinThis is one of my favorite shots. I love the moody lighting we achieved. There's so much personality going on here that it's almost overkill- all of these little spirits vying for your attention.
Most of these pieces have been sold so the picture means even more to me because it's all I have left to remember them by... As if I could ever forget this little group of charmers.
NogI wrote a little story about Nog.
Nog is the funniest elf in the Eastmist Meadow Place. Everytime he holds forth in the circle of myrth at the meadow's twice-yearly Autumn Leaf and Laughter and Serious Discussion Gathering,the shrieks and howls and guffaws would fill the night sky.
He would, in the words of the Ancient Chronicler, "leave them prostrate in the fields, gasping like dying fish." (The Ancient Chronicler wasn't necessarily poetic, just ancient!)
It must be noted that the Eastmist Meadow is the smallest community in all the land, and all five inhabitants are considered to be, again in the words of the Ancient Chronicler, "candles without wicks!"
TimTim is 9" tall, made of SuperSculpey (as are all of my dolls) and has glass eyes.
I love the ancient look I was able to achieve with him. He has a trusting sweetness along with a touch of mischieviousness.
Created in 1993, Street Angel is approximately 18 inches tall.
He was created with Super Sculpey and mixed media. His eyes are glass, and his hair is crepe. I created this doll for myself.
He is a sad, cold street person. I was trying to achieve a sense of nobility in the face of adversity.
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All artwork displayed is © copyright (1997) Bill Nelson (all rights reserved)
email Bill at Mann Gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org
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