Jason Nelson Jason Nelson Artisan
571 Court St. North Ontario, Canada P7A 4Y5
807-343-0591 home page:

Jason Nelson

Ontario, Canada


About Jason Nelson

Jason carves fine art sculpture and bowls in various types of stone including marble, alabaster, pyrophyllite and many other semi-precious gemstones.

Jason was born and raised in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. His interest in visual arts began at an early age and he began having some commercial success as a painter by the age of 16. After high-school, he briefly studied art at Sheridan College and then at Windsor University. However, at this point in his career he lacked the focus and dedication needed to succeed as a full-time professional artist. He soon found himself scrapingout a living working in dead-end jobs.
By the time he was in his early twenties, Jason was beginning to lose interest in painting. In 1997 he met Cathy (the wonderful woman that he would eventually marry). Their spirit of adventure lured the young couple to the west coast. It was in Victoria B.C. that Jason discovered his passion for carving stone and his interest in art was rekindled. Because of financial limitations and the fact that he was learning this art-form through personal investigation, trial and error, he had to start small with only the most basic of tools and he worked on part-time basis.
In 2000, their Northern Ontario roots drew Jason & Cathy back east, to Thunder Bay, where they settled down to raise their infant son. To support his growing family Jason began working in the forestry industry, planting and thinning trees in the Great North Woods. These grueling jobs left him with little time and energy for his artwork, or, his family-life. However, it did toughen him physically and mentally and taught him to respect, but not to fear power-tools traits that would help him in his budding sculpting career. He continued to sculpt in the off-season on a part-time basis.
By 2008 the forestry industry in Northern Ontario was in decline. Jason found himself having to spend more time further away from home. So, he finally decided to go for it he left the forest behind and decided to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time artist. Carving rocks for a living is not easy and it has often been a struggle to pay the household bills and at the same time find money to re-invest in his artwork, but, he would never look back.
Jason now works almost exclusively in stone. His sculptures and bowls can be found in private collections through-out North America and beyond. In 2010 his Veined Octopus, sculpture won 1st place in the Representational Sculpture category of the prestigious American Art Awards (an annual contest juried by Art Gallery owners from all across the USA). In 2010 he also received a Northern Arts Grant, from the Ontario Arts council. This grant is helping to finance the production of a life-size figurative sculpture of a man and woman; it is being carved from a 2700 lb piece of Cararra marble.
In the future, Jason hopes to leave his home based studio behind and get into an industrial type facility that is better suited for large scale projects. He hopes to break into the public art market and is also seeking gallery representation in major art-markets such as New York, London, Toronto, etc.

Artist Statement

Artist Statement
I like to think that I am an artist with deep roots, grounded in the most ancient of artistic traditions in regards to my influences, favourite medium and subject matter. I consider myself to currently be an emerging artist; I’m sending-up tender shoots and budding in the springtime of my career. The summer is ahead of me... I will reach for the sky and strive to branch-out into unexplored territory. The contemporary art-world is the savage garden in which I will grow.
Since the first time I opened an Art History text book, I have been intrigued by the ancient art of stone sculpting. In particular, I have been influenced by the great stone sculptors from the Baroque and Neo-classical periods. A couple of my favourites are Bernini and Pradier. My past work has not greatly reflected this influence; however, I consider my past work to be little more than a learning experience in preparation for the more major projects that I will soon begin. When I work with stone, I feel a strong connection to these great artists from ages past. I am currently carving stone from Cararra Italy; this legendary quarry has been a favourite source of stone for Master Sculptors since the dawn of western civilization. Although, I also use modern power tools, I enjoy the use of traditional hand-held chisels and rasps; tools and techniques which have not changed much over the centuries. I like the permanence of stone; it has proven to stand the test of time. Jade in particular, is perhaps the most durable medium known to man.
When I work with stone I also feel a strong connection to nature. I like stone because of its inherent natural beauty. It can be found in every colour and pattern imaginable. I love its tactile nature. There are many variations of texture and combinations of textures waiting to be touched. These include naturally weathered, frosted by chisels, rasped rough and polished smooth.
Another reason that I like stone is that working with it is always a voyage of discovery. Every stone has a sculpture trapped inside it and it is the duty of the sculptor to discover it and set it free. Although, the sculptor generally has clues about the attributes of any given stone, its full beauty and unique characteristics are often not revealed until the sculpture nears completion.
Like the classical style sculptors from ages past I am inspired by the human figure. However, I enjoy carving a variety of other subjects, including wildlife (especially marine-life and reptiles). I am also intrigued by sacred symbols and geometry. Some of my favourites are spirals, the figure 8 symbol for infinity and the yin/yang symbol for universal harmony. I also think that the sacred circle is especially important and this is why I enjoy carving bowls. Finally, I just can’t get enough of minimalism 
My main goal as an artist is growth. Although, I am currently happy working with stone, I am also very interested in learning to work with other traditional mediums including wood, clay, bronze and other metals. I think that it is important for an artist to embrace change and continue to try new challenges. With this in mind, I am also open to exploring the use of more modern mediums and techniques.

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