Dan Nelson City Art

Shifting the Culture of Cities

Insane . . . no, sane optimist! That’s how I describe myself and my art.

I don't paint to convey any gloomy political message— we get enough of that everywhere else. But my artwork does beam forth an ethos that is hard to miss: I like people, I like the world, I like life. And more specifically: I like cities. They are rich expressions of our collective struggle for progress.

If I do a 4-D installation of your hometown, I will help you fall in love with it like never before. Your city is made up of people: ordinary people of all kinds, colors, ages and styles. That’s who you will see in my paintings. But your city is also a unique nexus of history, culture, and destiny, and that is what I reflect in the “meta-images” in my installations.

My 4-D paintings are radically interactive. What you see from one spot is completely different from what your neighbor sees just 5 feet away. The faces you discover are also discovering you . . . and then you stumble on a hidden icon . . . then another and another. This is more than observation, this is 4-D immersion!

When I create an installation, I create an experience. They don’t emerge out of some hidden studio, fully formed. No! They materialize right there on the street-- day after spell-binding day.

I love chatting with with on-lookers while I paint. In fact, most of the portraits in my installations are of the very people who come by and talk to me. Beautiful music plays all day, creating an atmosphere of peace and beauty. (I don’t need high-energy loud music to keep me revved up! I am plenty stimulated just by the act of creating!) Then— usually at night when the hard work of painting is over—I perform my own music, just for fun.

When I come to town, I expect to shift culture. That’s what I do. I leave every city happier than I found it.

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