Judd Nelson - Interview
As a typical Minnesotan boy, Judd Nelson preferred outdoor adventures and wildlife. His high school art class allowed him to bring nature inside, soldering his creativity and a new skill of welding together. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1969 with an art education degree emphasizing metal sculpture, Nelson holds over 40 years of sculpting expertise.
Nelson devoted time over those years teaching eager students in a variety of settings, including a Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota and a public school in Boise, Idaho. Fourteen years were dedicated to a national public television show, “Hometime,” appearing in front and behind the camera as lead builder and project coordinator with the actors and directors. Today, Nelson shares his passion teaching Teen Welding at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts in Minnesota.
To Nelson, his artist process is simple. “I heat, hammer and shape steel in sculptures.” Though his original models were wildlife creatures from his childhood, he recently began welding human figures with animals. The medium, salvaged steel, also make the pieces environmentally friendly.
“My style is fluid and spontaneous.” His sculptures reflect the unique, natural movement of the inspired animal in one grand “fluid gesture.” By using a less number of shapes in sculptures, Nelson challenges viewers to finish the piece with their imagination.
“On another level, I want the viewer to see the steel for what it is: hot, molten, jagged, twisted and rusty pieces of metal,” describes the celebrated artist. “The previous life of this material is a beautiful contrast to the life and movement of the animals.”