Wednesday, January 10, 2018

More Chairs by Kris: The Magic of Imagination

"Cairn For You"
I believe I first saw Kris Nelson's chairs at The Red Mug in Superior. She also had a few "art chairs" for sale, and still does, at Art on the Planet, which is located on Tower Avenue adjacent to Wine Beginnings near Belknap. Her chairs have evolved and I can envision a gift book emerging some day. Or maybe an Instagram ongoing saga?

When I saw her chairs at 315 Gallery this past Friday I felt a blog post dedicated to her work was in order, and a brief interview with the Wrenshall artist.

EN: What prompted you to start painting chairs?

Kris Nelson: I painted my first chair in 1996. I wanted my bedroom chair to match a quilt I had recently made. Something clicked and I haven't ever wavered in my decision to reach my goal of painting 1000 chairs before I am 100. My style has changed and grown through the years. In the beginning I was still teaching full time and would only paint a few chairs a year. Now that I am retired, I paint around 30 chairs a year.

"The Killing Chair" features the seven ways state death penalties are carried out.

EN: Your "Killing Chair" is quite powerful. At what point in your chair painting did you begin to make social commentary through your chair art?

KN: My first social commentary chair was back in 2004. There was a controversy about the 10 commandments being displayed in front of the Duluth Courthouse. I painted "Moses and the 10 'Art' Commandments". (Thou shalt not kiln until the clay is dry is an example of one of my changes). I have now completed 20 social commentary chairs from Medical Marijuana to Gay Marriage to the Death Penalty. I use my art as a way to express my feelings, better than I can express myself in words.

EN: Your chairs are for sale I see. What does it cost to ship a chair if someone from Texas or Maryland wants one?

KN: Shipping a chair is not cheap. The last chair I shipped was a small child's chair that cost $100 and arrived broken. The recipient had to ship it back to me for $100. I repaired it, shipped it back for another $100. The USPS claimed no responsibility! The price varies from different states to different sizes, but I would advise people to carry it back in their car.

EN: Any other comments you wish to make about what you are doing?

KN: I love painting on chairs. I find it more challenging and interesting than a flat canvas. Each chair has a personality that I try to fit in with the theme I am painting.

Lest we forget, Death by Hanging is still on the books in some places.

Pair of chairs hanging out at the Red Mug show.

Kris Nelson's First Chair
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Visit Kris Nelson's home page.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

1 comment:

kris nelson said...

Thank you, Ed. I'm very flattered with your wonderful article.