"And how am I to face the odds of man's bedevilment and God's? I, a stranger and afraid in a world I never made."

A (Not So) Brief History Of Me And My Thoughts

First let me introduce myself. I am Thomas Ellis Nelson. Much too formal, so, just plain Tom. I am the son of renowned metal sculptor Ellis Nelson, whose works have garnered worldwide recognition and publicity. Ellis can easily be found on the Internet with minimal searching. In a nutshell, my dad started building a variety of metal art in 1984. Anything from life-sized dinosaurs to whimsical art. Suffice it to say, that, if not for dad starting his trek of expressing himself through scrap metal, I almost certainly would not have been inspired to express my ideas in 3D metal as I have.

Dad is gone now, but, when his days of producing metal artwork were behind him he could be found most days puttering around the shop or sitting in his chair in front of the office. He passed away, Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 86 years old.

My dad, Ellis Nelson

My dad, Ellis Nelson

I began creating metal sculpture in earnest in 1990. Being the somewhat anti-social person that I am, whenever TV crews or Newspaper Reporters would show up to interview my dad, I invariably retreated into the shadows so to speak. Only when dad's health faded to the point that he could no longer work in the shop did I begin to take the front line.

In retrospect, the approximately 21 years that both dad and I built artwork side by side were the best times of my life. Several times a week we would peruse the local salvage yard for "goodies" to work with, only occasionally having to resort to buying new steel. Though in later years I have come to use a lot of concrete "rebar" as my medium. Our artwork may have been made from the same material, but were, and are, as different as night & day.

Throughout all this, and until recently, I held a full-time job as a 2nd-shift supervisor in a machine shop. So, my artwork building hours were limited to weekday mornings and weekends. By Sunday, I was truly in need of a day of rest. I have since made the decision to take a possibly permanent hiatus from my hectic routine by ditching the "real job" as supervisor and turn my attention toward the full-time pursuit of producing Dark Metal Artworks, including some new ideas.

My Bike

On top of it all, I have my own complete machine shop at my home where I do work for other people and local industries. At one time I actually had enough free time to build several miniature, running gasoline engines from rough castings, which I enjoyed doing, but, the last few years of unrelenting overtime at my "real" job and building artwork had conspired to consume most of my waking moments. I enjoy both aspects of working with metal, whether it be freeform art or precision machining. As I build my artwork I like to think that a small part of myself goes into every piece I create. With no children of my own, I also like to think of the thousands of pieces of art I've created over the years as my prodigious metallurgical progeny, so to speak, which are scattered, as are my father's, quite literally around the world, and will most likely outlive me by a wide margin.

I would like to think that someone, sometime in the far future, will come across one of my creations, read the name welded into it, and wonder just who I was.

There are no precision (or even imprecise) measurements required in my work. All bends and cuts are done either by my hands or with the assistance of a one-hundred year old floor hand press, or, modern plasma cutter. I have utter freedom and total control of what, when and how I want to build.

My "real" job as supervisor of a state of the art machine shop, full of computer controlled CNC lathes and mills demanded precision to within 50-millionths of an inch. That's one-half of one-tenth of one-thousandth of one inch, or roughly one micron in metric terms. It also required being on time everyday, adhering to rigid guidelines of various sorts. Definitely as different as night and day as I went from artist in the mornings to machine shop supervisor in the afternoons and evenings.

What you see in the photo gallery are just some of my best sellers. Many pieces were one-of-a-kind and no photos of them exist. I build each piece of artwork individually, one at a time, and, like snowflakes, no two are ever exactly alike.

What will tomorrow bring? Who knows? I have hundreds of wonderful ideas in my mind that I would love to turn into reality, but quite frankly, I will never live long enough to get even a portion of them built.

Tom Nelson

I would like to think that someone, sometime in the far future, will come across one of my creations, read the name welded into it, and wonder just who I was.

Tom Nelson