Canadian sculptor Jason Nelson works in marble, alabaster and soapstone. He creates sculptures ranging in size from a few inches to a life-size work in progress being cut from a 2700 pound piece of Cararra marble.
ABI: What are your goals?
JN: Producing lots of great artwork is my primary objective. In a perfect world, achieving this first goal would make having other goals un-necessary; but, tell that to the ghost of Vincent Van Gogh. He was one of the all-time greats, yet, he was not a successful artist financially, during his own lifetime.
I think the most important thing is to keep moving forward; to avoid getting stuck in the proverbial rut. I want to improve on my past work in terms of originality, scale and craftsmanship. I want my work to be more meaningful and I’d like to be more prolific, and to explore new ways to symbolize complex concepts such as infinity, eternity and universal harmony.
I’d like to learn more about sacred geometry and fractals; I want to master the art of carving classical style figurative sculpture in marble. I want to expand my repertoire by becoming proficient in the use of mediums that I currently have little experience with, such as wood, various metals and glass.
ABI: What would your ideal studio be like?
JN: I’m currently working in a home-based studio (AKA my garage). It is far from ideal. To achieve my artistic vision I will need to move into an industrial type facility. It should have plenty of room and light and good ventilation and dust collection systems. An overhead crane is a must, as is running water with plenty of drainage built into the floor. It should have a loading bay and 3-phase electrical service.
One can sculpt even the hardest stones with traditional, hand-powered tools; just look at what the masters of antiquity were able to achieve. However, the better one’s tools and equipment, the more capabilities one will have and the faster one can work. So, I have many goals in the “acquiring tools and equipment”, sub-category. I currently use a combination of pneumatic and electric rotary tools with various diamond cutting and grinding accessories, as well as the more traditional mallet and chisels, rasps and files. A couple items on my wish-list are: a pneumatic hammer and chisel set (cost about $500) and a “Dragon” ring saw (cost around $7 000).
ABI: How do you sell your work?
JN: Over the last few years, the majority of my sales and commissions have been generated through my website, which I designed/maintain, and through social media. My website was on the first page of Google search results for “stone sculpture” and “stone sculptor”, for quite some time. However, I don’t think that I have leveraged this Google Robot love as much as I could have.
So, one of my marketing goals is to improve my website; in fact, I need to do a complete re-design with a more modern program, because the one that I’ve been using is outdated and no longer compatible with the modern operating systems. Becoming proficient with a better website design program may also lead to a new revenue stream for me; a couple of my friends have expressed interest in hiring me to design/maintain their websites.
Another of my business related goals is to find good gallery representation in markets outside of my hometown of Thunder bay. Currently, I mostly show my artwork at Chenier Fine Arts. It is a great gallery and I’m honored to be one of only a few local artists represented there. However, with a population of around 120 000, ours is a relatively small market; I would like to find representation in Toronto, New York, London, etc.
A third marketing goal is to start participating in major art fairs. I think this would be a great way to gain exposure and hopefully some new collectors.