Meet Spectrum Miami’s 2021 Spotlight Recipient Lonell Nellessen.
Q. Introduce yourself — who you are and what you do?
A. My name is Lonell Nellessen. I own a wig salon for clients who are undergoing chemo or other treatments that cause hair loss. Prior to that, I was a hairstylist for 40 years, specializing in color and color correction. I am a wife, mother to 4 adult children, and grandmother to 10! I have been painting and creating art since I was 4 years old, winning accolades along the way and an award in 4th grade for a mural I painted on a storefront window.
Q. What is your background?
A. I used my God-given creative talents to pursue a passion for coloring, styling and cutting hair for decades. I even won awards at competitions and was once offered a job at Vidal Sassoon in New York. I never gave up on painting, though, dabbling in it as time allowed and getting deeper into it about 7 years ago. Creating beauty for others is my deepest desire, and now I am happiest when I have a canvas on the easel and a brush in my hand!
Q. How do you work?
A. I work in my studio at home. Time slips away as I sing while sketching or painting. Sometimes I can touch a blank canvas and see what’s there waiting to be pulled out and painted. Other times, paintings come to me at night while I am dreaming. When those dreams come it’s almost as if I am forced into the studio to get them on the canvas as soon as I possibly can. I am ambidextrous and can paint right-handed or left-handed. Sometimes I even paint upside down! A truly different perspective! It is not unusual for me to paint for 8 to 11 hours without a break. Painting is effortless when that happens as it only feels like an hour or two has passed, and the rest of the world melts away. Sometimes the painting muse is even stronger then my need to eat and I can only follow my passion.
Q. What art do you most identify with?
A. I identify mostly with Realism and Nature paintings. There is no greater interplay of color and beauty than what is found in life.
Q. What artist(s) inspires you?
A. There are 4 artists I turn to for inspiration. The Renaissance artists Michaelangelo and da Vinci are first in line – Michaelangelo for the flow of the lines in his sculptures and the depth and movement in his paintings. All I can say about da Vinci is that his paintings have a soul to them that stirs me. You might be surprised to know the other 2 artists are impressionistic! Monet and Renoir! Monet because he did things his own way and had a free form style I appreciate; and Renoir for the soft style and shading of the people he painted.
Q. What is the best advice you’ve received?
A. My art teacher in High School said I was meant to share my God-given talent. I am trying to follow that advice to this day.
Q. When you are not working, where can we find you?
A. You can find me sketching out my next painting ideas, taking pictures in nature (tree bark, leaves and water are my favorites) – though I don’t know how to swim and get rather terrified around open water. My husband did convince me to wade in the Atlantic ocean, on a beach in Florida, and let’s just say I was terrified. I do love being out in nature – hiking around – finding the beauty of creation all around. Fall and winter are my favorite times, and I love to view sunsets, reflections, clouds and shadows.
Q. What does exhibiting at Spectrum Miami 2021 mean to you?
A. I continually try and bring beauty into the lives of others, and through Spectrum Miami I believe I can achieve that. This exhibition is my chance to share my gift and create a stirring of emotion in your soul. No true artist paints solely for themselves. Painting is a way to share a gift, and Spectrum Miami is an ideal way for me to do just that.