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R.I.P. Charles Huntley Nelson

Still from "Alphaville" trailer, 2009

Still from "Alphaville" trailer, 2009

The first time I heard the name Charles Huntley Nelson, it was in a conversation with local artist Kojo Griffin, who had recently achieved a level of success most local artists only dream of. Griffin was telling me how he had been pursuing an education in applied arts, thinking commercial art was a good way to fulfill his creative passion and still pay the bills. But then he met Nelson, who convinced Griffin to abandon his commercial aspirations and pursue fine art. After that I heard Nelson’s name invoked time and again as someone who significantly influenced so many other local artists.

An assistant professor of art at Morehouse, Nelson was a conceptual artist who explored identity and technology in cerebral, multi-media projects. For the “Charles Nelson Project” in 2001, Nelson sought out people online who shared his name and painted their portraits, which became, he said in the artist statement, “self-portraits in a sense because of the commonality of the name and the understanding that there is a thin line of circumstance that has separated one Charles Nelson from another.”

Sadly, our Charles Nelson died July 30 following an illness.

Nelson left behind a work-in-progress, a  trailer of a film that was to be part of an installation based on the Jean-Luc Godard film “Alphaville.” It is on view at The Contemporary through Aug. 16.

A public memorial will be held 5 p.m. Aug. 30 at The Contemporary.

7 comments Add your comment

hamadi rose

August 7th, 2009
11:48 am


william cordova

August 8th, 2009
12:26 pm

balla con dioz hermano


[...] Charles Huntley Nelson, an artist and professor of art at Morehouse College, died on July 30, 2009. He was 39 [...]

Henry P.Guillory(father of Gerard & Chuck Guillory)

August 12th, 2009
2:30 pm

Charles you were and will be my third son,I loved,admired and respected you for who you were and will always be in my heart.I pray for your love ones,especially your wife and boys.May God keep you in His loving ARMS ALWAYS AND FOREVER,love ya Mr.Guillory

Rachel Taylor (sister to Charles)

August 21st, 2009
2:32 pm

Charles, it took me a minute to come to the new reality that our family must face. I see and realize things alot different now, and can only thank god for 38 wonderful years. You worked hard and accomplished your childhood dream here on earth. I know GOD is using you for his own purposes now. I love you and miss you, Rachel

lance lamont

September 10th, 2009
11:38 pm

charles was one of my best friends.we worked together,shared a studio in west end atlanta for nine years.we had great times together,we never had a disagreement.chuck was a loyal friend,talented painter,and a loving father.we were in shows together since 96.after i moved to brooklyn in 2005 i saw him, he had a show at rush arts and we had a great time i had just spoke to him 2 months before he passed.i am crushed by the lost of more than a friend ,he was my brother damn.. rest in paint chuck

[...] AJC [...]