Trendsetter to Know: John Nelson

Name: John Randall Nelson



Age: 63

Title: Painting, Sculpture, and Public Art Artist

Married/Single: Married to Gail Marie Schlueger for 40 years

Kids: Zoe, 23 yrs and Erin 31 yrs

City you live in: Tempe

A typical day in my life is…

fluid, bouncing from one art project to another, sort of randomly.

I was born…

a slightly different kind of kid, a bit out of sorts.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

its beauty and diversity, both the landscape and the people.

I’m listening to…

Khalid – Young Dumb & Broke, MGMT – Time To Pretend. Hey, I’m old so I’m always a few years behind. Young Dumb and Broke resonate with my wife Gail and me (we met in high school). It pretty much sums up our entire lives: young, dumb, broke kids.

My family …

loves me. Thank you, family!

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be …

my mom who past away some while ago. She was such a deeply interesting, complex person. I would have liked to know her on a deeper level. I’d like to ask her about her life and listen to her stories of growing up.

One thing I cannot live without…

coffee in the morning and wine in the evening.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

on my own. But honestly, I was pretty clueless. I just wanted and needed to see what was out there in the world.

I’m inspired by…

Paul Dahmen, Bill Lykins, Sue Greenwood, Turkey Stremmel, and Andrea Schwartz. They have been representing my artwork for several years and those checks that come every so often have kept me busy and working for the past 20 years.

The one person who motivates me is…

obviously this sounds egocentric, but I think motivation comes from inside. There are friends and family that encourage and support me. But motivation is internal — something from the inside that wants to speak and be heard.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be …

way more compassion and empathy for one another.

The perfect day would be…

working on a promising idea or project. Keeping the whole show moving along.

My first job was…

well, my first creative job was working for Joe Callahan, an artist representative and film producer in Phoenix. His company was called “Small But Mighty”

My favorite escape

movies. I’m a sucker for romantic musicals, from West Side Story to LaLa Land.

Always …

try to be patient.

Never …

push the panic button.

Favorite Quote

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.

‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Biggest Dream…


My Pet Peeve(s)

I’m pretty sure enlightenment doesn’t really exist.

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