inksound chris nelson           art

In my visual art I work with sumi ink and rice paper, painting fish, birds, insects and plants. I have had a lifelong fascination with fish and insects and they have always held positive personal associations for me. My fascination with birds is new and grew out of my interest in their singing. I feel that my paintings help to keep me grounded and interacting on a daily basis with the beings around me.  With my paintings of birds and fish in particular I try to capture their spirit and humor and strive to give each one a distinct ‘personality’. These paintings also grew out of my great admiration for the work of the Ming dynasty artist Bada Shanren. His genius with creating a habitable world that belongs to fish and birds captured my imagination and I decided to try it myself.

I also work with calligraphy, taking inspiration from Japanese and Chinese ‘wild cursive’ and 'grass' scripts to create my own ‘wild writing’. More and more I’ve been interested in distancing my hand from the brush when writing in order to lessen my control over its movements. With my calligraphy I’m striving for a natural expression, as if the writing were created by wind or water, rather than my hand. I think of my writing as similar to tracks left in snow or sand.  In this I have been hugely influenced by the Zen monk Ryokan, whose sublime calligraphy is a never ending source of inspiration.