Robert Kenton Nelson (1954-)
KENTON NELSON WATERCOLOR
Robert Kenton Nelson Biography
R. Kenton Nelson, now known as Kenton Nelson, was born in 1954 in Pasadena, California. His great-uncle, whom he was named after, was Roberto Montenegro, a Mexican muralist who was friends with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (who married in his garden). His father worked at General Motors and his mother was a housewife. He graduated from the California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, California and attended the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California.
He spent the first eighteen years of his career as an illustrator and graphic designer. He also taught at his alma mater, the Otis Parsons Art Institute, as well as at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California.
Since the 1990s, he has painted his work in a studio in Pasadena, California. His early influences include the photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe, American advertisements from the 1950s, Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock, as well as the writings of John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver. He also credits David Alfaro Siqueiros, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and José Clemente Orozco, as well as Edward Hopper. Like Hopper and Grant Wood, he paints "narrative realism," set in Southern California
The New Yorker has used his imagery five times for their covers. In 2013, he did paintings for the American Contemporary Ballet. Additionally, his paintings were featured in the 2003 film, Something's Gotta Give. In 2005, he published an art book.
His work has been exhibited domestically, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Peter Mendenhall Gallery in Los Angeles, the Reynolds Gallery at Westmont College in Montecito, California, the Cumberland Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee as well as the Eleanor Ettinger Gallery in New York City. It has also been exhibited internationally, at the Plus One Gallery in London, England, and at the Ruzicska Gallery in Salzburg, Austria. Famous collectors include Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Dean Koontz.
He has also painted a wall in Pasadena, crediting his great-uncle as an influence to become a muralist himself. One of them, at the former Rite Spot Cafe on the corners of Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue, was inspired by Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and the Works Progress Administration. Moreover, as part of the Beverly Hills Centennial Arts of Palm Installation, he installed a temporary glass mosaic on a wall of the Palm Court of the Beverly Hills Civic Center between Crescent Drive and Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
He resides in Pasadena, California.