Monday, July 19, 2010

Kadir Nelson

Josh Gibson on deck- From "We Are the Ship"
by Kadir Nelson


On Friday, I attended the BYU Symposium on Books for Young Readers. I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Kadir Nelson for a while. He gave a terrific presentation where he showed his work and described his outlook on art and life. Kadir, like most of us artists says that he has been drawing for as long as he can remember. He studied at Pratt Institute and has enjoyed a very succesful career. Coming right out of the box he worked on Dreamworks films "Amistad" and the animated "Spirit" doing concept art. He said that this prepared him well for the 20 plus children's books he has illustrated since. One thing he said that really impressed me was that he tries to turn something negative into something beautiful. He said someone once told him that "beauty denies negativity".It reminded me of my own philosphy that I try to make the world a more beautiful place because "life needs art".

The Next Five - by Kadir Nelson


I have always been impressed with the design and the emotion that he embues in his work. I especially like the way he creates power and heroic stature in figures though his stylized elongation of the human form. His large scale oil paintings are beauty to behold. Many of the paintings for "We Are the Ship" are over five feet wide, including the one seen below.

Low and Away - by Kadir Nelson

It was really fun to meet him and have him sign a couple of books for me, including "We Are the Ship", a book he spent seven years writing and illustrating.

We Are the Ship has won several awards

It chronicles the story of the Negro Baseball League and contains over 40 of Kadir's stunning paintings. I would love to post a picture of the two of us together, but I forgot my camera - Dang! See more of Kadir's work here.

2 comments:

Mike Blake / Monisawa said...

Several years ago Kadir Nelson had his collection of baseball paintings in display at Kansas City. I was very lucky and fortunate to see and inspect them in person. He is very talented and inspirational.

I did NOT know he worked in the movie industry,and I really love the quote about beauty. Thanks!

Ron Spears MFA said...

Greg! Thanks for reintroducing me to this amazing and inspiring artist's work! Great post!