John Randall Nelson: Local artist offers a bold and unique narrative

John Randall Nelson

Local artist offers a bold and unique narrative.

Phoenix-based painter, sculptor, and performance artist John Randall Nelson offers his viewers familiar subject matter. Utilizing a bold and vibrant color palette blended with his painterly style, he works in a faux-naïve way that seamlessly blends painting, drawing, and text with a unique and bold narrative.

“Ambiguity and metaphor are central to my work,” says Nelson, who creates mixed media works layering imagery and textures. Revealing his whimsical and unusual version of the West and the world itself, Nelson creates a history all his own.

Objects and figures in his paintings are playful, with a childlike quality utilizing signs, symbols, folktales, and even postcards that are familiar yet ambiguous, creating a sense of wonder and excitement.

“Nelson embraces the concept of artist as story teller, a chronicler of contemporary culture,” says acclaimed writer/critic Deborah Sussman. “His symbolic amalgamations, which often consist of a central image superimposed over a collage of symbols and text (anything from art criticism to nursery rhymes), make intuitive sense of the inundation that we experience in what Nelson sees as our over-communicated, how-to world.”

Traditionally trained in the arts, Nelson received his masters of fine art from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. For the last decade he has taught both painting and drawing at Phoenix College. Gebert Contemporary currently represents Nelson’s detailed work with locations in Arizona and New Mexico.

This past June, Nelson exhibited his work in California at Sue Green Fine Art in Laguna Beach in an exhibition titled An Animate Brand of Mobility, as well as an exhibition at FP Contemporary in Culver City titled Weird West. Next he will participate in a group exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Nelson has exhibited his work extensively in Arizona, California, and New Mexico at such prestigious venues as Conrad Wilde Gallery, Gebert Contemporary, Eye Lounge, Phoenix Art Museum, Bentley Gallery, TCA, and Tucson Art Museum, just to name a few. His work has also been showcased both online and in print in such publications as Where World, Art + Auction Magazine, Architectural Digest, and Art News.

Nelson’s artwork is widely collected and featured in many private and public collections around the world. He’s currently busy working away in his studio preparing for upcoming exhibitions.

For more about artist John Randall Nelson, visit


Tempe Center for the Arts Celebrates 10 Years

Tempe Xhibition: celebrating ten years features a vibrant collection of diverse artwork from an incredible rooster of artists including: Kristin Bauer, Angie Dell, Tlisza Jaurique, Lena Klett, Mark Klett, Melissa Martinez, Emily Matyas, Dan Mayer, Jacob Meders, Marie Navarre, John Randall Nelson, Kyle O’Malley, Emmett Potter, Emily Ritter, Christy Weiser, Garth Weiser, Kurt Weiser, and Marcus Zilliox.

“Tempe has earned the reputation for being a smart, diverse, and overall a very cool place; It is just big enough to entice new businesses and tourists and just small enough to give residents a home-town atmosphere,” says TCA Gallery Coordinator Michelle Nichols-Dock.

Tempe Xhibition: celebrating ten years runs through Jan. 6, 2018. The TCA Gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Visit for more information regarding this exhibition, the gallery, or special events.



Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© North Valley Magazine

Scroll to top