Download PDF


Christopher Owen Nelson thrives in the vast arid landscape of the American West. As a Colorado native, he studied fine arts at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design where he learned classical methods in drawing and painting. While developing a deep appreciation for composition and form, Nelson focused on employing alternative materials; sculpting with used carpet, found objects and painting on glass. He continued on to pursue a career in construction, whereby gaining valuable knowledge in concrete, steel and woodworking that would eventually lay substructure for a new and innovative artistic approach. Electric power tools became primary instruments, with paints and textiles applied at later stages in conceptual evolution.


Nelson’s creativity is fathomless, as is evident in all aspects of his life. As a succesful songwriter/musician, he conveys feelings of beauty and loss, lightness and dark intertwine. These same concepts are mirrored in his visual art, where barren, leafless trees fracture solitary space. Nelson’s portraiture suggests that even the people we are the most intimate with will forever remain mysterious beings. Here, beauty is drawn from the darker aspects of life. There is a consistent thread that runs throughout all bodies of his work; a need to transform shadow and grit into something beautiful and smooth.


Critical attention and art world accolades have been swift and abundant. Early honors include the Most Promising Artist Scholarship Award, and being named as one of “21 Under 31 Emerging Artists” earmarked for success, by Southwest Art Magazine. Recently Nelson’s achievements in the arts have been featured in several national publications, including: Western Art Collector; Luxe Interiors and Design; Western Art and Achitecture; Santa Fean magazine, and American Art Collector.


Representation of Nelson’s work has been strongly focused in the greater southwestern region. However, through prestigious exhibitions and collections, his artworks have travelled the globe. Already in his career, this young artist boasts over a dozen solo exhibitions. Boulder Museum of Art, Boulder, Colorado; The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, and St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland are amongst the many museums and universities who have exhibited his work. Corporate and public art collections include: Wisdom Tree Investments, New York, New York; Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, Boulder, Colorado; Distant Cellars Vineyard, Fiddletown, California; Goodwill Industries, and Ritz Carlton.


Nelson’s creations reveal the dynamic nature of intrinsic existence, as thought and feeling align within a medium that is uniquely his own. Combining elements of his skills in painting, construction and songwriting, Nelson illus- trates deliberate yet subconscious narratives guided by lucid dreamscape. His work continues to grow in scale and in concept. Nelson is bound by no medium; creates in a perpetual state of research and development. Striking his own path, he cuts a wide road for future pioneers. Nelson exists in leaps and bounds. The art world follows in double time.


Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse. -Winston Churchill

Download PDF




BORN Denver, Colorado
EDUCATION Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Lakewood, Colorado



2016 Sentience, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2015 Clarity, Aspen Art Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
2015 Out of the Darkness, The Gallery at 350 Bleecker Street, New York, New York
2015 Running From Time, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2014 Subconscious Space, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2013 The Fortune Tellers, Horizon Fine Art, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2013 Absorb and Connect, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2012 Anchored and Drifting, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2011 Howard Schepp Fine Art, Palm Desert, California
2011 Horizon Fine Art, Jackson, Wyoming
2010 Vickers Collection, Aspen, Colorado
2009 VC Gallery of Fine Art, Sedona, Arizona
2009 Vail Village Arts, Vail, Colorado
2008 Vickers Collection, Beaver Creek, Colorado
2008 Wood River Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho
2008 Vail Village Arts, Vail, Colorado


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS (*indicates Museum / University / International)

2016 *Governor’s Art Show, Loveland Museum, Loveland, Colorado
ArtPrize 2016 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
First Peek, Southern Utan Museum of Art, Cedar City, Utah
Cambridge Art Association 15th National Prize Show – Cambridge, Massachusets, Juror: Paul Ha
*The City, Juried Exhibition, Susquehanna Art Museum – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Jurors: Eoldy Gyekis and Tanya Garcia
*80×80: An Art Show, The Young Affiliates, Mint Museum – Charlotte, North Carolina
Spring Group Exhibition, Thornwood Gallery, Houston, Texas
Social Justice: It Happens to One, It Happens to All, Gutfreund Cornett Art exhibition, St. Mary’s College
Museum of Art, Moraga, California
Stanthorpe Art Festival 2016, Queensland, Australia, Juror: Ron Ramsey
2015 Holiday Group Exhibition, Thornwood Gallery, Houston, Texas
Annual Contemporary Art Survey, Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, Colorado
2015 Holiday Show, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
*30th Annual International Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
*Juried Portrait Exhibition, Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, New Jersey
*Art of Our Century, Woodbury Art Museum, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah
*Expressions West 2015, Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Oregon, Juror: Brian Hoover
*X Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy, Artistic Director: Rolando Bellini
2014 Incite Insight, Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, Colorado, Juror: Ivar Zeile
Murmurations, Hinge Modern, Culver City, California, Curator: Caspar Martin
*Less is More, The Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland, Juror: Dominic Iacono
*Shoebox International Sculpture Exhibition, MTSU Todd Art Gallery, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Juror: Michael Aurbach
Forsaken Nature, Linus Galleries, online exhibition
Roots, Linus Galleries, online exhibition
2013 Landscapes, Light Space and Time Gallery, online exhibition
Mythical Beasts, One Mile Gallery, Kingston, New York
Scapes, Studio 12 Gallery, Denver, Colorado
2012 *Fish, University of Oklahoma, School of Art and Art History
NNAC, Nicolet College Art Gallery, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
2011 Fools Gold, Sasha Noe, New York, New York
*Illuminations, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, Colorado
2010 Haro Gallery, Culver City, California
*Art In Bloom, The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
2007 Tour D’Arte, Unspoken Word, Boulder, Colorado
2006 The Art of Living, Colorado Springs, Colorado



2016 The Cambridge Art Association National Prize for Painting – Cambridge, Massachusetts, Juror: Paul Ha
2013 Landscapes, International Art Competition, Light Space and Time Gallery, Jupiter, Florida
2012 Fish International Art Competition, Lightwell Gallery, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma Curator: Cedar Marie
2012 Northern National Art Competition, Audience Choice Award, Nicolet College Art Gallery, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, Juror: Sarah McKenzie
2012 Northern National Art Competition, Special Merit Award, Nicolet College Art Gallery, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, Juror: Sarah McKenzie
2008 Southwest Art Magazine, Featured Artist: 21 Under 31 Emerging Artists, National
1998 Most Promising Artist Scholarship Award, Jefferson County, Colorado



2016 Saatchi Art: Artist of the Day – Christopher Owen Nelson, selected by Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson of Saatchi London, May 2016
2016 Temenos: Returning Home, Summer 2016
2016 Willow Creek Journal, 25th Anniversary Season, Creede Arts Council, Creede, Colorado
2016 Advocate For The Arts by John O’Hern, American Art Collector, June 2016, Issue 128, Scottsdale, Arizona
2016 Cover, New Mexico Bar Bulletin, the official publication of the New Mexico State Bar, March 2016
2016 Fredericksburg Literary And Art Review, Spring Edition 2016, Fredericksburg, Virginia
2015 Saatchi Art: New This Week, featured artist Christopher Owen Nelson, selected by Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson of Saatchi London, October 2015
2015 Coast Explorer Magazine, Expressions West 2015, March 2015
2015 The World Link, Winners at Expressions West 2015 Named, May 2015
2015 Painted Sky: 106 Artists of the Rocky Mountain West, E. Ashley Rooney, December 2015
2015 Cover, New Mexico Bar Bulletin, the official publication of the New Mexico State Bar, August 2015
2015 Saatchi Art: New This Week, featured artist Christopher Owen Nelson, selected by Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson of Saatchi London, September 2015
2015 Studio Visit Magazine, Winter 2015 Edition
2015 Itch: The Creative Journal, featured artist Christopher Owen Nelson, Issue #15
2015 On View Magazine, 30th Annual International Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, July 2015
2015 MA-CO Italia s.r.l., featured artist Christopher Owen Nelson, July 2015
2015 The Rising Artist magazine, featured artist: Christopher Owen Nelson, projected
2014 Western Art Collector, Preview: Christopher Owen Nelson, July, pages 102-103
2014 Southwest Art Magazine, Where Are They Now, May, page 101
2014 Luxe Interiors and Design, Volume 12, Issue 1, Winter 2014
2014 Green Art: Trees, Leaves and Roots, E. Ashley Rooney, pages 124-125, 228
2013 Western Art And Architecture, Illuminations, October, pages 54,55
2013 Jackson Hole News And Guide, September 5th
2012 Santa Fean, review, April, page 43
2012 American Art Collector, May issue
2009 Denver Syntax, Issue 17, Spring 2009 Featured Artist
2008 Vail Daily, Front page and feature article, December 20th
2008 Plum TV Interview, Vail, Colorado
2008 Southwest Art Magazine, 21 Under 31 Emerging Artists
2007 TV 8 Interview, Beaver Creek, Colorado
2007 Wood River Journal, Ketchum, Idaho



Permanent Collection, State of New Mexico
GeoSouthern Energy Group
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, California
Wisdom Tree Investments, New York, New York
William Low, New York, New York
Jeff & Lis Coors, Golden, Colorado
Edward Burton, Hampshire, United Kingdom Nancy Zeckendorf, Santa Fe, New Mexico Lynn Kagan, Vancouver, British Columbia St. Julian Hotel, Boulder, Colorado
Richard Avanzino, Danville, California
John & Sharyn Clark, Queensland, Australia
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, Denver, Colorado Richard Avanzino, Danville, California
Chris Daughtry, Recording artist
Christopher Dean, Olympic Gold Medalist
Hale Westfall, LLP, Denver, Colorado
Lipscolb & Pitts Insurance, Memphis, Tennessee
Face & Body Cosmetic Surgery, Miami, Florida
Amesur Eye Associates, Ridgewood, New Jersey
El Paso Animal Hospital, El Paso, Texas
Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, Boulder, Colorado Steamboat Orthopedic, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Sacha Millstone, Millstone Evans Group, Boulder, Colorado Steve & Cindy Laporta, Newtown, Connecticut
Debbie Birkhauser, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Boulder County Open Space Building, Boulder, Colorado Goodwill Industries, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jefferson County Laramie Building, Golden, Colorado Central Bank and Trust, Colorado Springs, Colorado Broomfield Event Center, Broomfield, Colorado
Law Offices of Thompson & Thompson, Denver, Colorado Ron D. Thoman, DDS, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dave & Kelly Mecartney, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Tony Horton, Television personality
Jae Hyung Cho, Billiards Champion
Horan and McConaty, Denver, Colorado
Colorado Precision Machinery, Arvada, Colorado
Distant Cellars Vineyard, Fiddletown, California



International Sculpture Center Member – Hamilton, New Jersey
Platte Forum, Denver, Colorado – Menton / College Access Mentor Program
The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, Colorado – Preparator, assist with complex installations
The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, Colorado – Preparator, assist with complex installations Art Feast, Santa Fe, New Mexico – Artist on site volunteer
ARTsmart program, Santa Fe, New Mexico – Annual contributor
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Emmitsburg, Maryland – Annual contributor


This body of work has been an exploration in understanding and appreciating the complexities and subtleties of individuality. Casting torn up love letters, writings, and fabrics, into carved and painted cast resin, serves as a multi-dimensional vehicle in exploring what it is that truly connects us, as living, breathing and conscious organisms.


I have been examining and becoming more familiar with the idea that each person has as many faces, with as many stories written beneath, as they do acquaintances. Similar to the web of information that is spun out to form a virtual character within social media, my intention is to rearrange fragments of a whole story to create my portrayal of what the individual embodies.


Everyone knows everyone else in their own unique way, and even the people we are the most intimate with will forever remain mysterious beings. I find this to be the essence of beauty and romance.



Through my work I explore my own personal relationship with a variety of subjects that I have developed an important bond with. I spend a majority of my time outdoors, particularly in a few areas where I like to fish and walk my dogs. I am never in a hurry when I am there, and my mind always wanders far away. The environment puts me in a state of meditation, which for me is normal, but now suddenly I am beginning to notice life. I am awake. I am listening. Absorbing information from the water and the trees in such a way that it makes me feel connected and attached. My growing familiarity with every minute detail challenges me to appreciate these sanctuaries as relatives, rather than places I simply walk through or drive past. For instance, I try to address the spiritual and emotional impact that a particular tree has had on me by trying to understand it’s life, and by studying it’s characteristics and changes throughout the seasons, all the time asking myself, “How are we are connected?”


My goal is to continuously analyze this connectivity in an attempt to convey the possibilities that lie within the nurturing of a human’s relationship with his surroundings.



Through my work I am exploring a flawed human perception of permanence in relation to the natural world. My intent is to focus on creating subjects that are seemingly present from certain perspectives, but are merely shells of something that once existed. Reflections, that appear and vanish when viewed from slightly different angles, create ghost-like transfigurations on the angular facades of the work, alluding to our fleeting and delicate landscape.


My goal is for the viewer to feel as though they are looking at something fossilized or from another time, while addressing environmental topics such as deforestation, overpopulation and waste. For me, trees have been one of the most effective protagonists in stimulating these issues, elegantly delivering a message of strength, endurance and hope.


Living through generation after generation of human life, trees become symbols of infinite wisdom, but they too are ephemeral beings in a much larger, more complex structure that has no set date of expiration, and is by no means permanent.



I live a life inspired by the subconscious. My dreams have been a gateway to experiencing the strongest loves, the most petrifying fears, and a clarity that does not exist in my waking life. Years before developing this body of work, I was awakened by a profound dream that shifted my consciousness and made me believe in a higher order of things. It was in it’s simplicity, that the true beauty of this dream lived:


I was floating in what felt like outer space. I was not in my earthly body, but existed only in spirit. But it was the form of this existence that impacted me. I saw every person I loved and had ever known I saw all of the places I had been, and they were all part of what felt like one greater spirit, that existed without form. Not as if we were being held together by something, but that we actually were the same being. Everyone was everything, and every place was every time. All thoughts, ideas, people, places, eras, were all one expanse of atmosphere. Everything was love. I experienced the most transcendent oneness I had ever felt.


Whether it was God, or a concept of what my spirituality could look like, didn’t matter as much to me as did the idea that this subconscious existence, lacking in form, figure, subject or name, was powerful enough to permanently transform the way I thought about spirituality. In this body of work I have focused on stripping  away any representational elements or forms. Peeling away layers of disguise and pretension. The practice of being so subtractive in this work is a way for me to reconnect with this dream and the simplicity of it’s concept. The marriage of solid colors with a sculpted, lustrous façade, transform these pieces into undulating mirrors, creating kaleidoscopic reflections of everything and everyone in it’s presence. As surroundings and even the viewer become a part of the work, it begins to exist as an example of harmony.